The part Chris Wilder played in Femi Seriki’s move to Rotherham United

​​DEADLINE-day signing Femi Seriki has revealed how he was pointed in the direction of AESSEAL New York Stadium by Sheffield United boss Chris Wilder.

The youngster is now part of Rotherham United's Championship survival scrap for the rest of the season after finalising a loan deal in the final hours of the winter transfer window.

The 21-year-old had become a regular presence on the Blades' bench in the Premier League but his manager, a former Millers player, advised him to drop down a division so he could spend more time on the pitch.

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“I spoke to the gaffer and he thought it was best that I went out and got some decent exposure,” Seriki said. “The Championship is the best place for me to be doing that. I'm hungry to play.”

Rotherham United loanee Femi Seriki on his debut against Southampton. Picture: Jim BrailsfordRotherham United loanee Femi Seriki on his debut against Southampton. Picture: Jim Brailsford
Rotherham United loanee Femi Seriki on his debut against Southampton. Picture: Jim Brailsford

The wing-back, who made his Rotherham debut as a substitute against Southampton on February 3, is no stranger to going out on loan, having had spells at Belgian club Beerschot, National League North Boston United and League Two Rochdale since moving to Bramall Lane from Bury in 2019.

He had a one-game taste of the second tier with the Blades in 2022 when he was selected for a 1-1 draw with Nottingham Forest and now feels ready for more.

“Being put in different scenarios has helped me mature,” he said. “You have to go through different challenges to get to where you want to be.

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“This is the next stage in my development. The Championship is a really strong league watched by a lot of people. I played two years ago and I was quite nervous. I've grown up since then and I'm excited to be playing against top players.”

The period leading up to the Thursday February 1 end of the window had been a tiring time for him.

He hadn’t got back to South Yorkshire until 5am on Wednesday morning after being on bench duty at Crystal Palace and then his New York switch from the Millers' South Yorkshire neighbours wasn't wrapped up until very close to the 11pm close of business.

Wilder wasn't the only boss he talked to. There was also a chat with Rotherham head coach Leam Richardson that helped him make up his mind to head across the Parkway.

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“The way he was speaking to me was very positive,” the player said. “I couldn't wait to come here.”

The Millers have added to their squad a quick player who believes he can have an impact in both halves as he adds to the options on the right flank.

“I'm fast and I'm direct,” he said. “I like to put crosses into the box. I like to attack, I like to defend. Just know I'll be up and down really.”