Why Rotherham United boss Matt Taylor is an Hakeem Odoffin fan

The Millers midfielder scored the survival-clinching goal on Monday.
Hakeem Odoffin scores against MiddlesbroughHakeem Odoffin scores against Middlesbrough
Hakeem Odoffin scores against Middlesbrough

MATT Taylor ticked off the reasons why he’s handed Hakeem Odoffin his big Rotherham United opportunity this season.

“He’s 6ft 2in tall, he covers the ground well, he’s outstanding on set-pieces in both boxes and he always gets a chance every game,” the boss said.

Following his move from Scottish club Hamilton Academical, Odoffin failed to make the Millers’ League One promotion side last year under the previous managerial regime and hadn’t played a minute of Championship football this term until Taylor’s arrival in October.

The midfielder, described by his manager as the club’s best trainer, capped off his breakthrough campaign with the goal that beat Middlesbrough at a packed AESSEAL New York Stadium on Monday to seal Rotherham’s second-tier survival.

It was his 25th appearance of the season and the 25-year-old is set to keep the shirt for next Monday’s last-day trip to Wigan Athletic where Rotherham will be cheered on by more than 4,000 travelling fans.

“No matter how much time we spend out of possession, Haks still stays switched on,” Taylor said. “He stays in the groove of what the game needs, even when it’s frustrating and the opposition have the ball.”

Odoffin’s 22-yard piledriver against Boro was his fourth goal of the season and a reward for all the extra sessions he’s done to hone his shooting skills. Teammates say he has the fiercest shot in the squad.

“I’m delighted for him because he practises those moments,” Taylor said. “We have to get him off the training pitch because he’s always out there hitting the back of the net hard and low.

“That’s what we say to him: ‘Hard and low; get over your shoulder and head into the ball.’”