Injury ordeal over for Rotherham United prospect Jacob Gratton

Jacob GrattonJacob Gratton
Jacob Gratton
A YOUNGSTER right at the beginning of his career was being clapped by Rotherham United’s seasoned professionals.

It must have been music to the ears of Jacob Gratton.

The ovation at the club’s Roundwood training complex meant two things: the teenage striker was back from his injury nightmare and his commitment to his recovery had won the admiration of the senior pros.

The show of appreciation came earlier this month as the 19-year-old rejoined full training for the first time since suffering a cruciate knee ligament injury last February.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

“Gratts got a good round of applause from all the pros,” manager Paul Warne said. “He’s gained a lot of respect from all of them for how hard he’s worked and what unbelievable shape he’s come back in.

“His attitude has been great. He’s endeared himself to the lads because he’s a good kid who trains his heart out.

“He was unbelievable in finishing practice. We’ll get some proper work into him on the pitch now.”

The Thurcroft prospect had signed his first professional deal with the Millers only three weeks before disaster struck 12 months ago.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Surgery meant 2020 was a write-off just at a time when he was stepping out of the youth set-up and looking to make his mark.

Rotherham rate Gratton highly and he had been looking a class act in the reserves until he was sidelined.

He’s small but strong and sharp, his first touch is quality and he knows exactly what he was doing inside the box.

The ‘extras’ he has done during his rehabilitation haven’t gone unnoticed either.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

“He looks trim and bigger than before,” Warne said. “Physically, he’s matured a little bit. I’ve spotted him doing a lot of running outside on his own.”

The problems caused by coronavirus might prevent it happening but the Millers will look to secure a non-league youth loan for their young asset if they can to accelerate his progress.

“It would be great for him,” Warne said. “It’s been an horrendous first season as pro for him, bless him. To be out for so long was a massive blow and it’s great to see him back.

“We all hope he comes back the player he was prior to his injury. With his attitude, he should have a great career.”

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Centre-forward Jerry Yates, now scoring regularly for Blackpool in League One, was considered something of a prodigy when he was coming through the Millers’ system and club insiders describe Gratton as a better player and taker of chances than the 24-year-old was at the same stage.

The talent is obviously there while time is still on the teen’s side at AESSSEAL New York Stadium as his contract runs until 2022.

“His finishing is a joke,” Warne said.

The boss had been considering involving the player in last Friday’s inhouse match, arranged because the Millers had a blank Championship weekend.

In the end, the manager erred on the side of caution and told him to continue training instead.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

It would have been Gratton’s first serious action since a 3-1 Alliance Youth Cup victory for the club’s under-18s over Preston North End on February 1.

No prizes for guessing who scored twice that day.