BEN Thompson says it means "everything" to him to play for the club he has supported all his life.
The Millwall midfielder signed a new deal last week until the summer of 2017 and marked it by scoring his first senior goal for the club in the disappointing 2-1 FA Cup defeat to Wycombe at the weekend.
And though he was pleased to get off the mark in his 16th appearance this season, he admitted the result took some of the sheen off that milestone.
He explained: “It’s mixed emotions. Very, very frustrated. I’d love to have scored maybe the winner or been part of winning the game.
“Very disappointed with the result but there you go. I was thinking before the game having signed a new contract what a great time it would be to get a goal. It’s a very good feeling.
“I’ve had a good few shots now and it’s taken a while for one to go in. I’m never afraid to shoot on the edge of the box if the ball comes out. I’m always practising in training so hopefully I can score many more. I just saw the opening and hit it hard and low. As soon as I hit it I knew it was going in, there was a big pathway and it went right in the corner.”
Thompson said he wasn’t worried about his long-term future with the Lions, preferring instead to focus on his own footballing development.
“I’ve been getting my head down, playing my football," he explained. "The manager told me it’d all be sorted and it has in the end. I just concentrate on my football and that side of things being sorted in the background.
“It means everything to me (to sign a new deal). I’ve supported the club from a young age, always been a big fan. To stay here as long as I can (would be) excellent.”
After a number of questionable refereeing decisions in the last two fixtures, Thompson revealed the difference in his attitude to officials as a fan and now as a player.
“Obviously you’re going to get decisions that don’t go your way,” he said. “A couple haven’t gone our way, a couple have. But you’ve got to get over that, keep playing and hoping something’s going to go your way.
“I’ll have a go at a ref but I’ll never get a yellow card from it, I don’t see the point. It’s not going to change his mind, you’ve just got to carry on with the game and keep focussed.
“When I was a fan I was totally different, you see things in a different picture. You shout everything, but that’s football.”
Thompson has also recalibrated his ambitions this season given the number of appearances he already has under his belt is more than he expected to have at this stage of the season.
“(I want) as many starts as I can get," he said. "At the start of the season I was saying between five and 10 games, now it’s gone up to 20, 30 games. And as many goals as I can get.”
Thompson travels with the rest of the squad today to Southend, where the Lions will be attempting to atone for Saturday's defeat.
Millwall seemed to have wrested the initiative from Wycombe last weekend when they equalised in the 57th minute, but Gareth Ainsworth’s side weren’t cowed and Thompson stressed the importance of being in the right frame of mind for the contest at Roots hall.
“Once we got one back you think you’re going to go on and win the game,” he said. “When things aren’t going well you’ve got to stay in your shape and wait for an opening, maybe a counter-attack or something like that. It was a tough game, and the wind and the conditions didn’t help.
“We’ve got to get our heads right for Tuesday night, it’ll be a big game. Hopefully I can play a part in it.”