Sean Raggett talks to www.themillers.co.uk...
WITH the Millers in the embryonic stages of their Championship adventure, it is widely perceived that they will have to fight tooth and nail for every point gained, as they go toe-for-toe with some of England’s heavyweight clubs.
Well, no-nonsense defender Sean Raggett is relishing the prospect of rolling up his sleeves and giving his all for the Rotherham cause.
Despite being highly rated by his parent club Norwich City, Raggett decided to further his football education in the close season by putting pen-to-paper on a season long loan deal with the Millers. By their own admission, Paul Warne’s men will be going into the majority of their Championship encounters as rank outsiders. However, Raggett believes that his Millers side can defy the odds by making life as difficult as possible for their more illustrious Championship opponents.
The defender, who made his competitive Millers debut against Wigan in the Carabao Cup, admits that he is looking forward to the prospect of nullifying the attacking threat of Championship strikers by stressing to the Rotherham faithful that he is well and truly up for the challenge when he is handed the opportunity.
“I’m a fighter. I’m very aggressive and a front foot defender,” Raggett stressed.
“I leave it all out on the pitch and even if I’m not having the best game personally you will see me working hard and giving my all to this team.”
Since his arrival in South Yorkshire Raggett has given ample evidence of his fighting qualities by coming within a whisker of opening his Millers account with a powerful header, in the pre-season clash with Premier League outfit Cardiff City. He then impressed the visiting Rotherham travelling contingent in the last pre-season outing at Mansfield, before notching his first goal in Millers colours, by timing his run to perfection to meet Anthony Forde’s tantalising corner to plant a bullet header into the heart of the Mansfield goal. His most recent outing came in the form of the Carabao Cup win over the Latics, in which he acquitted himself well, contributing to Jamie Proctor’s opening goal with a towering headed assist.
With tight Championship affairs often decided by the odd goal, Warne will be expecting Raggett, and the likes of club skipper Richard Wood, to make the most of their set-piece opportunities – with chances from open play likely to be few and far between. With his Mansfield goal whetting the appetite of the Millers fans, Raggett admits that he is aiming to chip in with a few goals over the course of the season.
“It was a great ball in from Fordey and I managed to get on the end of it,” Raggett said of his debut strike.
“I like to get a few goals and I think I’m not too bad in the box so hopefully I’ll get a few more throughout the season.”
Warne has made no secret of his admiration of the tall defender, by first revealing that he attempted to snap up his services in the January transfer window before being rewarded for his perseverance at the second time of asking in the close season. Following a public courtship, Raggett is keen to reward the faith of his new manager by proving he is capable of making his mark at Championship level.
“It’s always nice when the manager has confidence in you,” Raggett enthused.
“That’s a big reason why I wanted to come here because from the conversation we had you could tell that he knew a lot about my game and how I could help this team.
“I’m grateful to play with any of the boys. I think they would say the same. We have some really good centre-halves, so it will be a fight for whoever gets those starting positions.
“I want to play at this level and prove that I can play at this level. I’m sure that I can and I can help the team do well. I’m looking forward to it.”
Despite being just weeks into his Rotherham career, Raggett has been impressed by the closely-knit nature of the Millers camp, by stressing that this camaraderie and team ethic will serve the side well, against, arguably technically superior Championship opponents.
“You can tell there is a lot of banter,” Raggett revealed.
“The boys are lively and there is a good team spirit. I can tell that already and that will help us during the season.
“There are a lot of big teams in this league. Every team that you face are either an ex-Premier League club or a big Championship side. There are a lot of games to look forward to. The three teams that got relegated from the Premier League, Swansea, West Brom and Stoke are the obvious ones but every game is a big one for us.”