MILLWALL manager Neil Harris believes Ben Thompson can keep getting better after watching the youngster dominate the midfield battle against Sheffield United last Saturday.
Thompson has started the last six games since Shaun Williams’ ban and an injury to Ed Upson gave him his opportunity, and Millwall are unbeaten in all of them.
The 20-year-old was outstanding against the Blades, giving the Lions a physical edge along with midfield partner Jimmy Abdou that was the foundation of their 1-0 win.
“His energy and his hunger is infectious,” Harris said. “I think there’s so much more to come as he gets more experience. Ben and Jimmy complement each other really well.
"I feel I’ve got three central midfielders, and you can also put Ed Upson into that category as a fourth one, that make a good group. Shaun Williams adds real quality on the ball when he plays.
"Ben has grown up as a Millwall supporter and plays like it, that’s really key. He plays with passion and desire that epitomises this club and at times he plays like a senior player.”
Harris praised Lee Gregory and Steve Morison for helping to nullify the threat of Sheffield United’s three-man midfield as Nigel Adkins’ side tried to rescue something from the game after Chris Taylor’s early goal.
“I thought the front pair were excellent at times in their decision-making, when to press and when to drop off,” Harris enthused.
“Sheffield United moved the ball really well and got the ball into wide areas to put a lot of crosses into our box but we stood strong and dealt with it. The back four were well worthy of their clean sheet.”
Millwall should have more comfortably won the game only for Gregory and Morison to miss one-on-one chances against George Long in the first half, but Harris stressed the fact they were in those positions in the first place is testament to the attacking intent of the side.
Harris said: “We give the players licence to play with freedom and to express themselves. In the team-talk before the message was to enjoy the occasion and play with freedom and I thought they did. We should have been out of sight by half-time, that’s for sure.
“But, again, it was great movement from the strikers to get the chances.”