Who is Michael Smith - The Rotherham United forward on Middlesbrough and Bristol City's radar

Middlesbrough are tracking Rotherham forward Michael Smith – but who is he?

Thursday, 3rd June 2021, 4:45 pm
Michael Smith playing for Rotherham United.
Michael Smith playing for Rotherham United.

Boro boss Neil Warnock has said he wants to sign three new strikers this summer, following the departures of Britt Assombalonga and Ashley Fletcher, with the transfer window set to reopen on June 9.

Smith is one of several targets being assessed following Rotherham’s relegation to League One.

We take a closer look at the towering frontman’s situation.

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What’s his background?

Smith is from the North East and played for Wallsend Boys Club in North Tyneside during his youth days.

The striker signed for Charlton in 2011 but hardly played for the Addicks as he was loaned out to several clubs during a three-year spell.

Smith’s best goalscoring season came at Swindon during the 2014/15 season, when he netted 13 goals in 40 League One appearances.

Following that campaign, the frontman also had spells at Barnsley, Portsmouth, Northampton and Bury before signing permanently for Rotherham in 2018.

After helping the Millers win promotion from League One during the 2019/20 season, scoring eight times in the league, Smith was one of the club’s key players in the Championship this term.

The striker scored ten times in 44 appearances but it wasn’t enough to keep Paul Warne’s side up.

What are his strengths

As shown by his stats, Smith hasn’t been the most prolific striker in terms of goals.

At 6 ft 3, the 29-year-old is a threat in the air and is an imposing figure for defenders, as Boro found out when Rotherham won 3-0 at the Riverside in January.

Smith is someone who will run into channels and work hard for the team to take pressure off the players behind him.

The striker played up front on his own and as part of a front two during the 2020/21 season and was second to Cardiff's Kieffer Moore for aerial duels won (7.0) by strikers in the Championship.

While Smith may not be Warnock’s first-choice option this summer, he’s certainly worth considering if Boro are looking to sign three new forwards.

What has been said about him?

Rotherham boss Warne has repeatedly praised Smith, nicknamed ‘Smude’, this season.

Following Rotherham’s 3-2 defeat at QPR in November, the Millers boss said: “I’m buzzing with Smudge. I think he was our standout player by a country mile, he led the line really well, he worked hard and he caused them problems.

“Every time a cross came in, I fancied him to get on the end of it and he got himself a deserved goal.”

Bristol City have also been credited with interest in the striker, with Bristol Live claiming he could be a replacement for Famara Diedhiou at Ashton Gate.

What’s his situation at Rotherham?

Smith is entering the final 12 months of his contract at the New York Stadium.

Speaking about the player last month, Rotherham assistant manager Richie Barker said: "You have conversations with people in the game all the time. Smudge's name crops up as one of those who have had successful Championship seasons.

"In terms of, have we had any concrete bids or anyone ringing up and making an offer for him? No.

"In fairness, I would expect Smudge to be on a lot of people's lists.”

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