Upcoming MatchHendon vs Dartford/April 23, 2024/Silver Jubilee Park

DARTFORD FC | IN CONVERSATION WITH TYRELL MILLER-RODNEY

Last weekend saw Dartford host Farnborough at Bericote Powerhouse Princes Park. Tyrell Miller-Rodney featured in our matchday programme that day. For those who missed that feature, here is the full article:

SECTION ONE

Tyrell Miller-Rodney was one of the most sought-after players during the off-season. The central midfielder had spent four-and-a-half years at Hampton & Richmond Borough, before moving to promotion challengers Havant & Waterlooville in January this year.

As The Hawks’ promotion challenge drifted away during the closing stages of last season, Tyrell became a free agent before signing for Alan Dowson’s squad on the 12th of June.

Having made two starts (at the time of writing) already, as well as scoring on his debut in front of the Bericote Powerhouse Princes Park faithful on opening day, the experienced midfielder is quickly becoming a fan favourite. And, he’s in good spirits during our conversation on WhatsApp…

“I’m very well Chris, thanks for asking… I actually started roller skating a few months back, which I was pressured into doing! I’m not really known for having much finesse… HaHaHaHa…! I quickly realised that it’s not for me, and I didn’t go back. I did consider getting back into it because, it was something outside the box… but, my box was missing me, so I decided to go back inside it! HaHaHaHa!”

Despite admitting to not being blessed with much finesse, Tyrell is an athlete who takes his body’s condition seriously, especially considering that most players at this level are part-time. He explains, “I’m someone who takes pride in their fitness and health. I’m very much an advocate for ‘if you look good, you feel good’. I try to go to the gym three-four times a week, whether that’s weight training or cardio-based training. In terms of my diet, I feel that as I’ve gotten older, I’ve had to be stricter in terms of consuming too much sugar-based foods. So, I try to limit that as much as possible and try to confine it to the weekend usually.”

And what about balancing a working life with the sport? “Obviously, balancing work life with fitness comes with its challenges. But, for me it’s just about preparing correctly. Firstly, I ensure that I’m getting enough sleep, especially on the days I know that I’m training or doing my own bits at home in the gym. I always decide in my head at the start of the week, so that I know exactly what I’m doing… whether that be training on a Tuesday or, again, doing my own stuff in the gym on a Wednesday. I try to stick to the plan as much as possible. I know what I’m doing every day and at what time I should be doing it. It’s little things like this that help me to stay on top of things.”

It’s clear that in Tyrell, the Darts have got an organised and strict (with himself) footballer. Qualities that saw the midfielder end up being Captain at Hampton & Richmond Borough. And yet, he’s also someone who can enjoy a good laugh whilst not veering too far from his box… So, why did Tyrell sign on the dotted line for Dartford?

“I signed for the club due to the competitiveness that surrounds it. Year on year they’re always competing towards the top end of the National League South table. There’s a winning mentality that surrounds the club, and I’m someone who has a burning desire to win at all costs. The set-up, from the changing rooms down to the pitches, is second to none, as well as the fans who are always loud and supportive, which I’ve witnessed every time I’ve played here.

“The gaffer was another big factor in me coming here. He’s been extremely successful with getting teams promoted, which again, is something I haven’t achieved and is something I’d love to add to my CV. He (Dowse) has great knowledge and is very experienced, especially at this level. I feel that, with the gaffer’s knowledge and my will to win, my game will only elevate and, in turn, hopefully bring success to the club. My ambitions for the season are quite simple… PROMOTION! I honestly feel that we have all the components needed to achieve that. We have some very good players here, a very good management team, as well as a style of play that’s suited for the players we have.”

The fighting spirit and leadership qualities are all to see during my conversation with Tyrell. The midfielder has a voice that will be integral to the running of the Dartford midfield engine room this season, as will be his work rate. Not only does the midfielder like to get stuck in and defend the ball, but he also loves to roam forward towards the edge of the opposition’s box… something that Bath City discovered on opening day… so goals are included in his game as well, which is something the Dartford faithful love to see.

Speaking of the fans, Tyrell has a message for you as well… “Inevitably, it’s going to be a season full of ups and downs. I just ask that you all stay with us through those times. Continue to be loud and vocal, like you have been since I arrived, and hopefully we can bring success for you on the pitch.”

SECTION TWO

Faith or Superstition?

Faith. I used to be quite superstitious, and at times, it was quite mentally draining. It was almost like a work-out sometimes. I’m pretty sure the things I was doing were borderline OCD! I can’t really disclose one of the things I used to do, because kids might be reading this, but it was a bit crazy HaHaHaHa! Over time though, I sort of came away from the superstitions.

Best Memory?

Playing in the FA Cup First Round proper on BT Sport against Oldham Athletic. The atmosphere was electric. We came agonisingly close to winning after I had won the penalty, which I was later banned for after claims by the FA that I dived. Of course, I half didn’t. In the end, we lost the game in extra time, which was devastating, but none the less a great experience.

Biggest Influence In Your Career?

I’d have to say my dad. He sacrificed a lot for me, especially when I was younger… Making sure I got to training, buying boots when I needed them, and always making sure I was in the best physical shape so that I could perform to a high level. It would have helped if he could pass the ball straight when we were training together though…. Probably explains why my passing is wonky at times! HaHaHaHa!

Best Goal Scored?

Goal against Eastbourne Borough. It was an absolute screamer from 20-25 yards right in the top corner. It was against my mate in goal, Mark Smith. He told me he’s never ever seen me shoot, much less score a goal like that! I told him he’ll probably never see me score a goal like that again, and he was right because I didn’t score for about 2 years afterwards… HaHaHaHa!

Most Under-Rated Player You’ve Played With?

Probably Jake Gray. I had the pleasure of playing with him in midfield for Hampton & Richmond and he has everything. He’s as fit as a fiddle, technically very good, can create, can score goals and, when it’s time to put his foot in, he can do that too. Could and probably should be playing at a higher level. I don’t think he gets as much credit as he should considering how good a footballer he is, but he was adored by everyone at Hampton.

Most Under-Rated Player You’ve Played Against?

Dominic Vose. I also had the pleasure of playing with him too. We played together at Fulham, and I swear he was doing things at a young age that I only saw Ronaldinho do. I could barely do a kick-up HaHaHaHa! I thought he was going to play for Barcelona or Real Madrid when we were younger, he was that good. The brain he has is frightening. He’s just an unbelievable footballer. I knew when I played against him it was always going be a long afternoon. He scored probably one of the best goals I’ve seen at Non-League level when he was playing for Wrexham. Go on YouTube and see for yourself!

Biggest Influence In The Dressing Room?

There’s quite a few I’d like to say. Even though I’ve been here for a short time, you can see instantly the players who have a big influence in the dressing room. Charlie Sheringham, who’s the experienced head. When he talks, you can see everyone listening because he’s been there and done it, and he definitely knows what he’s talking about. Another one is Luke Coulson, who’s a big character within the changing room. He’s also in charge of the fines and he doesn’t miss anything, trust me! If he could fine you for breathing, he would! HaHaHaHa! Nah, but he’s a top guy and a top footballer, as are all the boys. There are obviously other players who have a big influence in the changing room, but those two stick out for me.

If you were to be involved with a five-a-side tournament, and had to select the best players you have played against, which five players would you choose?

In goal for me would be Jordan Pickford (Everton). When he was at Sunderland, he was immense. Some of the best shot-stopping I’ve ever seen at that age. In defence Nathaniel Chalobah (WBA). At the time, he was playing CB for Chelsea. He’s technically excellent for a CB and was so strong and imposing. In midfield John Lundstram (Rangers). He was playing for Everton at the time. He was exceptionally good and was pinging balls all over the place! Midfield/Forward Fernando Suso (Sevilla). When he was at Liverpool, I think they had just bought him from Real Madrid or Atletico Madrid (You were right the first time Tyrell). He was ridiculously good cultured and technically immense. In attack, Ravel Morrison (DC United). Probably the best player I’ve played against. He had the potential to play for any elite team in the world. He played like it was a training game.

By Chris Palmer