New boy Tyler Blackett almost signed for another club before agreeing Rotherham United deal

Tyler BlackettTyler Blackett
Tyler Blackett
Move to a Championship rival was all lined up.

ROTHERHAM United landed free-agent centre-half Tyler Blackett weeks after a move to one of their Championship survival rivals fell through for the former Manchester United youngster.

The 28-year-old turned down a switch to AESSEAL New York Stadium for family reasons early in the New Year transfer window and was then set to join Wigan Athletic during the short managerial reign of Kolo Toure.

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That deal broke down when Toure was sacked and Blackett, who spent last year playing Major League Soccer in America with FC Cincinnati, yesterday signed a Millers contract until the end of the season.

“It has been on the radar for a while,” the player said. “In January it was around but different bits with family didn’t line up for me coming back from America. I’ve been waiting.”

Blackett, who made 110 second-tier appearances for Reading between 2016 and 2020 and has also played for Nottingham Forest, Celtic and Blackpool, could go straight into the squad for Saturday’s match at another of his former clubs, Birmingham City.

Rotherham are short of centre-halves, with Grant Hall and Sean Morrison already in the treatment room, Bailey Wright being hit by a calf issue in last weekend’s win over Queens Park Rangers and club captain Richard Wood seemingly no longer figuring in boss Matt Taylor’s plans.

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“With the injuries in the squad, it’s a good time for me to step in,” Blackett said. “I’m here to help us be strong defensively. It’s about getting results and helping the club stay in the league. My experience will help the squad.”

The Manchester-born defender hasn’t played since the close of the MLS season in November but has done his best to maintain a level of fitness.

“It has been difficult,” he said. “It’s been one-to-one sessions and trying to keep motivated to do sessions on my own.”

Blackett watched the QPR game at AESSEAL New York Stadium on Saturday and has been training with his new teammates at Roundwood since Monday in the hope of earning a place in the matchday 18 against the Blues.

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“It was a great atmosphere,” said the player who had 11 Premier League outings with Manchester United at the start of his career. “The fans got behind the team. The boys stuck together well and attacked and defended as a team. I was impressed.”

Veteran centre-back Wood is stuck on 250 Millers appearances and may have played his last game for the club.

The 37-year-old, in his ninth year at New York, is out of contract in the summer. He hasn’t made Taylor’s matchday 18 since January and hasn’t been a member of the travelling party for recent away fixtures.

Meanwhile, Blackett is pleased Rotherham decided to revive their interest in acquiring his services.

“You want to go somewhere where people want to work with you,” he said.