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Harris sees first-team potential in Millwall's youth ranks

© Edmund Boyden
© Edmund Boyden

NEIL Harris firmly believes that a number of players coming through Millwall's youth ranks will one day play for the first team.

Harris has been charged with managing the club's development squad since his appointment as a coach in the summer, and has overseen three wins, one draw and just one defeat in the U21s' five competitive fixtures so far this season.

And former striker Harris is convinced that, in the not too distant future, the Lions will be able to field home-grown players at senior level.

He said: "The boys coming through, especially some of the U18s who are already playing up an age group in the U21s, will play for the first team – without a shadow of a doubt.

"The foremost important thing for the academy – from U16s upwards – is to produce first-team players for the club. That's the sole and main aim of it."

Harris, who is also heavily involved with the first team, particularly on a match day, says he has enjoyed making the transition from playing to coaching.

"I'm always picking up knowledge from the gaffer, Mick Harford and Tim Breacker so it's a learning curve for me as well, but I'm thoroughly enjoying it," he said.

"Trying to link the U21s with the first team is really important, because that unity has been a tradition at Millwall. We should pride ourselves on bringing local talent through our youth system – that is one of my aims.

"The improvement in the players is phenomenal. I have got a bunch of lads who come in to training – every single day – with a desire to work hard and improve, which is fantastic.

"I studied them all for a good few weeks at the start of pre-season, picked up on their strengths and weaknesses and since then we have tried to enhance their game and their understanding of it."

Alex Aldridge

(@accordingtoaldo)

37 thoughts on “Harris sees first-team potential in Millwall's youth ranks

  • October 18, 2013 at 16:46
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    Perfect man for the job. He can also teach them what it means to wear the shirt.

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  • October 18, 2013 at 16:54
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    Maybe he can convince some of youngsters that they should stay and get first team action at Millwall rather than chase a fast buck in the Prem and end up playing Div 2 in 5 years.

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  • October 18, 2013 at 17:00
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    Another piece from yesterdays Southwark News the fourth item so far this week. aldo lets get some original information from the Den, we know that the News own the site but a web site should be up to date, rather than using old stories from a weekly news paper.

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    • October 18, 2013 at 17:10
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      @Barnlion: Firstly, it's the international break so it's extremely quiet news-wise. And secondly, without the access provided by the Southwark News' relationship with the club, interviews like this would not appear on NewsAtDen. So the site is getting more not less. Don't understand your complaint. It's past 5pm on a Friday, what original news are you expecting?

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      • October 18, 2013 at 17:25
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        @Alex Aldridge: well u should have gone home then Aldo.

        I'll have a word with my union!

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  • October 18, 2013 at 17:02
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    Well I guess we will have to wait for bomber to be the manager before we see them because SL doesn't seem to want to use them. He would rather other teams cast offs on loan!

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    • October 18, 2013 at 18:09
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      @bonnie1272:

      Nobody has give the poor f***** a chance after 10 games so I'm sure he ain't gonna get the time to blood youth and he certainly won't take the risk as he knows what are fickle fans are like.

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      • October 18, 2013 at 19:21
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        This is where I'd give two of them the opportunity in the FA Cup. Another two as substitutes.
        Don't know exactly what happens on the training ground but If I was running it, I'd have Harris's team playing the first team at least once a week.

        @Ash:

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      • October 18, 2013 at 19:54
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        @Ash: I'm not saying I am not giving him a chance, but if we as a club cannot promote from within every now and then, and KJ was just as guilty in the last few seasons, then we are doomed.

        It is those players who we can sell on that generate much needed revenue.

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        • October 19, 2013 at 09:36
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          @bonnie1272:

          That weren't aimed at you. But if Lomas bloodied some youngsters and we lost 3 or 4 games our fans who sit at home watching Gillette soccer(most of them) would not see the brighter picture and they would say its a results business. Basically it's a no win situation for him for the rest of his tenure.

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  • October 18, 2013 at 18:57
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    For people like me who live hundreds on miles from the den it is great to be able to read these items on the website. I am interested in the youth development as was involved in that years ago. It takes an exceptional player to get into the first team. But the main attribute has to be stamina and confidence as well as ability of course.

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  • October 18, 2013 at 19:21
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    About time we had the next robbo or teddy come threw, been a while since we had a real talented youngster in the first team! We've had john marquis but he's not really talented !!!!!

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    • October 19, 2013 at 19:38
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      @dpendet: As well as being a dinosaur (your comment ) I know that Jake Goodman has been getting good reviews at Aldershot on loan I am sure he will be are next Robbo if he's allowed!

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  • October 18, 2013 at 19:40
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    Good to hear from bomber, will be great to see the fruits of his labour since his transition to coaching and I find myself wandering off into a daydream of a future whereby if he grows successful and shows great talent he might one day manage down the den.

    Blue sky thinking.

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    • October 18, 2013 at 22:22
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      Nah, That's called rational thinking.
      I now believe, more than ever, that you literally have to have blue blood to manage Millwall.
      It's a unique club that requires a certain understanding. You've either got it or you haven't.
      I've got mates that follow one team but have a second favourite. They'll never manage Millwall and that's my point !

      @Lions_claw:

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  • October 18, 2013 at 19:44
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    Young players coming through should be music to everyone's ears. Obviously they need to be good enough but if Bomber thinks they are, that will do for me. Hopefully theres' another Teddy, Kitch or Robbo amongst them? COYL

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  • October 18, 2013 at 20:34
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    The Youth are a quality bunch and I see hope for Millwall yet. Did any of you see the highlights of that 3-0 win game? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=56lGD_CLCn8

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    • October 18, 2013 at 22:13
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      @Dazi: I posted that last week. Isn't that pleasant on the eye, kids playing it on the deck and looking totally at home with regards to technical ability and control and movement. It is a lot easier to express yourself as a player at this less stressful/important level but nonetheless it can only be a positive to play it the right way all the way through the ranks.

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  • October 18, 2013 at 23:06
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    well done neil you're doing a blinding job with them lads can't wait till you're the full time manager hopefully by 2015 coz if anyone knows what millwall is about is you

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  • October 19, 2013 at 09:48
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    Look at the state of Feeny's face in the picture above. Not happy on the bench at all. If he comes back from Bolton, I get the feeling he won't want to play for us anyway and just have the ump until his contract runs out. If he comes back, he will need to prove himself otherwise, no-one will want him anyway. Bolton are seeing what we saw withing his first couple of months but then takes a dip in form. As soon as his a*** hits the bench, he struggles to get back into contention for a place. For me, this shows a lack of spirit and fight. I say offload!!!!

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  • October 19, 2013 at 11:01
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    Reading the the Eamon Dunphy autobiography at the moment. Just got to the bit where he played for us, brings tears to your eyes. It's just as it was, not a great abundance of talent, but the sheer determination to win. A mixture of very good players , Weller, Possee, King in goal.Dorney and big Kitch at the back. But as Dunphy says the sheer determination of the players, and the crowd were worth a goal start. He goes on about how important it was for the crowd to get behind the players, and how the banter from the crowd to the opposition was fantastic. If only we could get that back, we don't need to chuck bottles, we don't need to s*** our own players down. We need to go back to them days ,when we were all in it together, us and the players. Read the book and tell me I am wrong.

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    • October 19, 2013 at 14:47
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      @sups8892: A great post Sups. I haven't read the book yet but fully intend to. Those of us that were there at the time know what it was really like to support the Lions, one big family. The team then used to train at Deptford Park and me and my mates were regularly invited to join in with the players at the end of their training sessions for a kick about. I feel sorry for the modern supporters as they haven't experienced Cold Blow Lane. A different experience completely.

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  • October 19, 2013 at 14:57
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    01 Forde
    15 Connolly
    28 Malone
    26 Abdou
    03 Shittu
    05 Robinson
    29 Waghorn
    06 Trotter
    27 McDonald
    10 Bailey
    11 Woolford

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    • October 19, 2013 at 15:08
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      @NICKOLA: Why Connolly? Otherwise looks strong as we can get at moment.

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      • October 19, 2013 at 15:23
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        Dunne suspended. Jack Smith is the only other option and he's on the bench.
        No room for Osborne though.

        @Peckhamlad:

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  • October 19, 2013 at 15:30
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    1-0 down but penalty denied for Millwall

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    • October 19, 2013 at 15:45
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      @Peckhamlad: listen to the radio and they are saying it was as blatant as could be for a penalty and mike dwan will need a poluce escort when he leaves the den.

      COYL!!!!!!!

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      • October 19, 2013 at 15:46
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        Major typos today, mike dean lol

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      • October 19, 2013 at 15:47
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        And police hahaha

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  • October 19, 2013 at 16:01
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    I heard too on radio that Trotter was bought down in the box and Millwall had a good case for the penalty. Why do we always get a real poxy ref?

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    • October 21, 2013 at 21:41
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      @Peckhamlad: as I have mentioned before in other reports that the f.a.,the police,and media have a hidden agenda against everything mfc

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  • October 19, 2013 at 16:16
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    Whoooooa Millwall Equalize-Scott McDonald assist by Liam Trotter COYL

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  • October 19, 2013 at 16:58
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    Brilliant Millwall! 2-2 Easter late late equaliser.

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  • October 19, 2013 at 17:00
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    To all you lomas haters what have you got to say about that aye good point wall deserved 3 today well done lads !!!!

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    • October 21, 2013 at 21:45
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      @cmj23: one swallow does not make a summer.but don't blame the manager its the tight board with no ambition that's to blame.s.l. has a hell of an uphill task to get his season going.

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  • October 21, 2013 at 22:04
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    unfortunately any millwall youth player who came through the ranks into the first team and if any good was seen as a profit commodity by the board at that time and sold on to balance the books or guised under the banner of good business.now other clubs scouts nab players way before they are in their teens and infiltrate on others patches and catchment areas.i would love to see a future millwall eleven with at least half the team coming through youth ranks. the nearest I can think of that we got to it was when mick mac was in charge.under chopper I hope wind of change is on the horizon.

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