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READ | The team's relentless approach has impressed me the most - Ollie

22 December 2021

Like all of his Millers teammates, Ollie Rathbone is relentless on the pitch.

However, it has been that same attitude off it that he attributes to the team’s success so far this season and says he has been most impressed by since his summer switch from Rochdale.

The 25-year-old has become a firm fan favourite since Paul Warne swooped for his signature ahead of the 2021/22 campaign and has won the hearts of Millers supporters as a result of his high-octane displays in the midfield engine room.

Despite slotting in seamlessly, Rathbone’s is still a fairly new face in a dressing room that he believes is as well-drilled as any he has been a part of before.

"Ever since I've been here, what I've been impressed with the most is how focused the group are and how concentrated they are on winning games,” he told www.themillers.co.uk.

"A lot of the time in the changing room after a game that we've won, it doesn't seem that big of a deal, because the lads are already thinking about the next three points on offer."

Ollie Rathbone, Rotherham United

"I think that has been a key factor in our success so far.

"We all know that nothing is won in December, so we won't take anything for granted.

"I do think we should be encouraged though - not just by where we are in the table but - by our performances as well over large parts of the season.”

RU v Crewe - 124 - Ollie Rathbone - GOAL.jpg

 

The Blackburn-born bundle of energy knows all about what scrapping for points means – albeit more recently at the other end of the table with former club Dale.

Having played an integral role in the Millers’ current run of 21 games without defeat, which has them in pole position in Sky Bet League One ahead of Christmas Day, Rathbone admitted that it is nice to be seeing performances rewarded with the added incentive of points.

"I've just been talking to Icky [Michael Ihiekwe] about how the last few years of my career it has been April and May before I've been getting to 45 and 50 points, and without any disrespect at all to Rochdale because I loved my time there, it is nice to get there in December,” he continued.

"It's incredible really and I think we do deserve the credit for a run like this because it isn't easy to put one together of this length in modern football. It's hard to win one game, let alone go 21 without losing.

"It takes physical and mental strength and a lot of application to put sequences like this together, especially when there have been cup games in there that have needed winning as well."

Ollie Rathbone, Rotherham United

"To not slip-up for that long is something I think we're right to be proud of.

"I don't want to disrespect Rochdale at all because I always enjoyed my time there and I loved playing for them, but there were a lot of hard times when you were going into games scrapping for points. I would prepare the exact same way that I do now, but no matter how much you put into it sometimes, you couldn't get that reward of three points.”

Cheltenham Town v RUFC - 075 - Ollie Rathbone.jpg

 

As Rotherham United supporters – particularly those hardened over years of experience – we know not to get carried away with ourselves and anticipate that there will be challenges to overcome between now and the end of the season.

With boss Warne embodying so much of that Millers ‘DNA’ it is clear that the message is heard loud and clear in the dressing room too, with Rathbone acknowledging there is still plenty of work to do between now and May.

"I don't think not slipping up comes into our mindset to be honest,” he explained.

“We know there will be bumps in the road before the end of the season, it is just a case of limiting them to being as few as possible.

“We have a really supportive group and if someone does make a mistake then nobody will dwell it on at all.”

At times this season, it has been tiring watching Rathbone and his teammates from the stands, so it would be fair to assume that the volume of Christmas games may be a daunting prospect for a side who work as hard – both with and without the ball – as the Millers do.

Clearly a glutton for punishment, the evergreen midfielder is of the oppositive opinion and says the momentum gained by a series of fixtures is something he, personally, relishes.

"I feel good, to be fair. I think in football there is a theory that a lot of games will make you tired and physically it does happen to a point, but you also do get fit by playing games in quick succession,” Rathbone explained.

"I, personally, would rather have three games in a week, than have one in a month. I feel like you're at your sharpest after that sort of a run."

Ollie Rathbone, Rotherham United

"I spoke with Ben Wiles about this who thought the same.

"I would much rather be playing more often than not.

"I am desperate for our games to be on because with the form that we're in, we just want to keep ticking games off at the moment.”


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