Appleton cool over U21 talk as U’s sparkle
OXFORD boss Michael Appleton did not rule himself out of the England Under-21s job after his side knocked Championship Rotherham out of the FA Cup.
Appleton applauded the U’s fans towards the end of the game when they sang ‘Michael Appleton, we want you to stay’.
But he said: “I’ve not had contact and I don’t really expect to.
“It’s a job that obviously is a fantastic role for whoever does get the job.
“From my point of view you look at the remit of what they’re looking for and probably people put two-and-two together and think ‘he ticks a lot of boxes, it must be him’.
He added: “I’ve just been trying to keep my focus on obviously what I’m doing with Oxford.
“I think it’s difficult for any manager with that type of role to come out and be brave enough to say ‘I wouldn’t be interested’, but the reality is it’s just pure speculation.”
Oxford left-back Marvin Johnson went close to a spectacular early goal after dribbling from his own half, but Lewis Price tipped his shot over the bar.
Price again kept things level 30 minutes later by saving former Miller Chris Maguire’s penalty after Kirk Broadfoot fouled Ryan Taylor.
Taylor put one past his hometown former club as he fired Oxford ahead on 41 minutes from Robert Hall’s layoff.
Danny Ward spanked an equaliser into the top corner early in the second half, and Will Vaulks hit the post with a 25-yarder ten minutes later.
Another fine Price save kept out Liam Sercombe’s dangerous curler, but the reprieve proved short-lived as unmarked Phil Edwards headed in the resulting corner.
Kane Hemmings tapped in a third from Johnson’s cross on 89 minutes, making Tom Adeyemi’s immediate reply mere flattery for Rotherham.
Rotherham caretaker manager Paul Warne said: “It seems like wasted breath now but I kept saying to the lads ‘if you start the game poor you can’t get yourself back up’, in the same way that I think Leeds last week underestimated us a little bit and we outplayed them.
“Some of the individuals went out there and under-performed first half in a big way and I thought Oxford deserved their lead at half-time, I’ve no issues with that at all.
“They looked sharper than us, I hate to admit they looked fitter than us.
“They had more energy than us, more desire than us.”