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Tom Thorpe has Rotherham manager Steve Evans purring

While most people would have remembered Rotherham’s friendly win over Mainz for their late comeback and perhaps the magnificent 13-strong travelling support, boss Steve Evans was left purring at something else.

The Millers turned it around against the German Bundesliga outfit with late goals from Matt Derbyshire, a stunning effort from 20 yards, and Jordan Bowery, but it was the performance of defender Tom Thorpe that caught the eye of Evans.

The former Manchester United looks to have played himself into the starting XI along side Danny Collins for Saturday’s MK Dons clash on Saturday after a string of impressive pre-season performances.

Although maybe lacking a yard of pace, Thorpe has shown to have impressive positional awareness and an ability to read the game.

And Evans believes the manner of his display against the Germans can only bode well for the Millers.

“If I was going away with recollections of that game they would be of Derbyshire’s goal and the performance of Tom Thorpe,” Evans said. “I’ve had two Premier League managers ring me to say how good he was against Leicester.

“And he was like that in Scotland. To see the young kid go out there and play like that against a Bundesliga club with top-six aspirations is fantastic for us.”

Evans was also full of praise for Derbyshire’s effort, which will get the mouth watering ahead of the forthcoming campaign.

After a well-documented horror start to last season, the former Nottingham Forest man came good after Christmas and his goals helped keep the Millers in the division.

His form will be again vital to the Millers’ chances and his effort against Mainz gives hope that his confidence is at the same level as the back end of last term.

“We wanted Matt to get on the scoresheet,” the Millers boss added. “He scored with a brave header up in Scotland but of course our supporters don’t get to see that.

“He did a lot of unselfish running on Wednesday and he did a lot of unselfish running against Mainz. You get your rewards.

Hier haben wir für euch noch die Höhepunkte des Testspiels beim Rotherham United Football Club in der Zusammenfassung von #05ertv!
Posted by 1. FSV Mainz 05 on Monday, 3 August 2015
“I said to him five or 10 minutes before he got his goal ‘just keep working hard, just keep making the runs and one chance will come’.

“I’m the biggest believer of all that if we make Matt Derbyshire half a chance he can do it. His finish was sublime.”

Derbyshire seems a certain starter against the Dons in three days’ time, but Evans has also revealed that Bowery will come into his thinking after his cameo from the bench on Saturday.

“Jordan Bowery came on and had a real impact and pushed himself into people’s thoughts for next week. That’s pleasing to see.”

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