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Pringle earns Evans love

Rotherham boss Steve Evans went on record with his love for Ben Pringle long before the midfielder's virtuoso display in the League One play-off semi-final second-leg win over Preston.

The 24-year-old has been one of the stellar performers for the Millers in a superb campaign and was at his best on Thursday as he created his side's first two goals and then twice came within inches of registering with spectacular efforts.

While the watching nation may have been seeing Pringle and his magic left foot in action for the first time, perhaps putting a bit of weight onto his price tag, his performance against North End was nothing new.

He received plenty of acclaim throughout the season as not only did he attract interest from Championship clubs throughout the year, but he also was named in the PFA League One Team of the Year.

He earned further recognition after being placed on the long-list for the Football League’s League One Player of the Year and it’s easy to see why after five goals and 13 assists in the regular season.

Before his two assists on Thursday he was at it again with his quality ball down the line for Alex Revell during Saturday's first leg, meaning he created three out of the four Millers' goals over the two legs.

Only Wolves’ Bakary Sako created more goals in the division than Pringle in the regular season, with 14 set-ups, while Leyton Orient’s Dean Cox also assisted 13 times.

That equates to one assist every 325 minutes Pringle was on the pitch, which is fairly impressive, though is bettered by both Cox (322) and Sako (234).

Of course those direct stats do not include other influences the former Derby man has had in a game, as a sizeable number of Millers goals have come from his balls into the box being knocked down by another player or being cleared for corners or long throws, which have then gone on yield goals.

He has also bagged five times himself in the league, not including the exocet in the Capital One Cup against Sheffield Wednesday, with strikes against Gillingham, Shrewsbury and Bristol City particular stand-out efforts.

It’s no surprise that Pringle has found the back of the net given the amount of shots he has peppered in at goal.

In 45 league appearances, he had 67 shots, 26 of those were on target, with 41 off.

His performances have earned almost constant praise from Evans, who has been accused by the rest of the squad of having a soft spot for the left-sided midfielder, something that he recently admitted.

“He is a Championship player all day long and when I arrived he was in the cupboard and how you could put a player like that in the cupboard I don’t know,” Evans said.

“The players say I love him and they’re right I do love him. I'm in love with Ben Pringle.

“I am not knocking Andy Scott because of his management of Ben but he is the sort of lad who can deliver magic.”

And if Pringle puts in another performance like Thursday's at Wembley and the Millers win promotion there may be 15,000 plus other people confessing their love for him.

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