Michael Ihiekwe talks to www.themillers.co.uk...
Rotherham United’s first signing of the summer Michael Ihiekwe says he can’t wait to take on the challenge of League One football next season, after joining the club on a two-year deal.
The Liverpool-born defender came close to promotion from the National League last season with Tranmere Rovers, but suffered Play-off final heartbreak at Wembley as his side lost out to Forest Green Rovers and insists he is looking to seize the opportunity of EFL football with his new employers.
“I'm buzzing. It's taken a week or so to sort everything out but now it's done I'm made up and I can't wait to get the season started,” Ihiekwe told www.themillers.co.uk.
“It's a league I've looked at from the outside and thought I could do well in but obviously I've never actually played in it, so I'll get that opportunity now and hopefully take it.
“To play at Wembley was amazing and I'm looking forward to playing at other stadiums in League One and kicking on.”
The 24-year-old centre half continued to admit that Millers’ boss Paul Warne was influential in his decision to agree terms at AESSEAL New York Stadium and join a club that he feels needed little marketing in his choice to sign a deal.
“As soon as he showed his interest in me I was eager to come here and speak to him,” Ihiekwe explained.
I met with him last week and he just told me about everything and how the club is going forward and to be honest with you the club sells itself.
“I came here and I've seen the stadium and everything and he told me his plans and I'm excited to start now.
“He told me before we went to the training ground and you go up there and see all of the work that is getting done, so it's only going one way.
“It's a lovely stadium and and probably one of the best in this league at the minute. Like I said, the club sells itself as soon as you come here you see everything and I can't wait to start now.”
The Liverpudlian, who began his career as a youngster at Wolverhampton Wanderers and also lists Cheltenham Town amongst his previous employers, was a virtual ever-present at Prenton Park last season, helping the club to 95 points and a second placed finish in the National League.
After arguably his best season as a professional last time out, Ihiekwe is keen to bring the winning feeling to his new club and kick on in the third tier.
“I went there quite inexperienced really and I spent three years there and I'd like to think I've come on as a player and hopefully I'll do well now,” he continued.
“We won a lot of games last season [at Tranmere] and it's a habit, so hopefully I can take this on now.”