Why Redfearn’s appointment at Rotherham could be bad news for Sheffield duo

New York Stadium exterior, Rotherham

Neil Redfearn’s appointment as the Rotherham United manager could have an effect on Sheffield United and Sheffield Wednesday.

Rotherham United confirmed the appointment Neil Redfearn as their new manager last week, with the former Leeds United head coach signing a two-and-a-half year deal with the Millers.

It was a brave decision to part with Steve Evans and appoint Redfearn in his place, but for a club in Rotherham’s position it could well turn out to be an astute decision.

The Millers are currently languishing in the lower reaches of the Championship and are widely tipped to go down, an unsurprising prediction when taking into account a number of factors.

In a financially-boosted Championship full of former Premier League teams, Rotherham have one of the smallest budgets in the league and a stadium capacity of just over 12,000.

Attracting players is tough enough, but moulding a team to compete with the likes of Derby County, Middlesbrough and Burnley is near impossible.

That’s why appointing Redfearn could be an astute decision, and one which may well turn out to be very bad news for fellow Yorkshire clubs Sheffield Wednesday and Sheffield United.

Rotherham can’t compete through buying players, but they could compete by focusing on youth players and bringing up the best players Yorkshire has to offer.

Redfearn, a former youth team coach at Leeds, oversaw the club’s academy for years, and pushed through the likes of Lewis Cook, Alex Mowatt, Charlie Taylor, Sam Byram and Kalvin Phillips.

Those five players are now earning regular minutes for the Whites, a huge factor in what would have persuaded Rotherham owner Tony Stewart to bring him in.

Aside from spotting youth talent, Redfearn has a good record of training and developing them.

Considering the location of Rotherham, Redfearn and his staff will be keen on overseeing the entire South Yorkshire area for future stars, and this is where Sheffield Wednesday and Sheffield United could suffer.

The Owls and the Blades are practically neighbours with The Millers, and while those two have in the past brought through good youngsters, there aren’t too many floating around now in their respective starting lineups.

Opportunities to play at either Sheffield club is tough, therefore parents could look at Redfearn’s track record and see that their sons could now have a better chance of making the grade at Rotherham.

While this is all speculative and part of a long-term plan, this could be the start of an interesting period of football in the South Yorkshire area.

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