Feature interview: Wozza makes friends at Millwall

DAVID Worrall is impressed with his first visit to the Millwall press lounge.

“It’s like the Champions League, this,” he says before taking his seat at the top of the room after Steve Morison’s 89th-minute penalty had given Millwall three points against Sheffield United on Saturday.

That admiration doesn’t stop at the furniture and fittings and there is still the sense of a footballer in innocent awe of where he plays his football as he praises his team-mates and his manager.

He singles out Lee Gregory and Morison, though he had a very different impression of the Lions vice-captain before he arrived at the club.

“He surprises me, Moro,” Worrall says. “When I first came I thought he was in his late-30s, he’s been around that long! I hope he doesn’t see what I’ve just said!

“But he’s great to have around, he’s one of the players the manager said you’ll enjoy playing with, he’ll make you a better player, he’s approachable.

“And having Greggers in behind with his movement, his runs – as soon as he starts firing in front of goal like he was last season it’ll all click.

Asked why he thought Morison was older than his 32 years (He turns 33 on August 28) Worrall jokes: “How much grey hair he has got!”

He added: “Just from watching him on telly in the Premiership he just seems to have been around for years.

“He helps Greggers a lot and they have a great partnership. He’s just refreshing to play with. He was class (Saturday) and those centre-backs knew they had a tough game on their hands.

“I’d been out for food with Morison the last two nights, paid for him last night so he owes me after his goal bonus, I’d like to think!”

If Worrall gives the impression he is carefree that is only one part of a strong character. He thought his performance against the Blades was the worst of his Millwall career so far and he expressed a steeliness when he spoke of reflecting on it and learning from it.

That was a theme after Millwall’s 5-1 evisceration by Peterborough last Tuesday, a game Worrall watched from the bench.

He also had sideline view in the dressing room as Harris unloaded his thoughts onto his players. He offers a succinct impression of the Lions manager and also gave an insight into Harris’ ability to spot previously unrecognised strengths in players.

“In the changing room the manager handled it really well compared to other managers I’ve been with,” Worrall said. “I was sat in the corner thinking, ‘I didn’t play so I’m not in the firing line here’. But he handled it well. He said in the changing room, ‘I promise we will win on Saturday. I’m not letting anyone down, we will win this game’.

“I’ve seen a lot worse (reactions), especially after conceding five goals. It’s different, how people react; he comes across as a pretty cool and calm person. So if that’s him losing it, then he can lose it like that with me, I won’t be too fussed!

“He’s a young manager and he’s learning himself. All I ever heard were good things about him before I came.

“He’s very detailed, I know how he wants me to play before every game, what he wants me to do. I’d never been a corner-taker in any teams before, I’d always been on the edge (of the box) or sat back defending, so obviously he’s seen something in that and we’ve scored from four or five from corners now.

“He knows what’s needed.”

Millwall’s players just about realised Harris’ promise against Chris Wilder’s side, but not before some fans had appraised the first 45 minutes with a chorus of boos. Typically, it didn’t faze Worrall.

“I’m not really fussed with it,” Worrall shrugged. “I’m a football fan – Man United – I’ve been there and done it before. I would’ve done it a lot last season – if I could’ve got to a game – and would’ve done it a lot worse if they were drawing at half-time!

“It’s part of football but in the end it was different and that’s all that matters. Half-time is not the end of the game, it’s not the end of everything. It’s at the full-time whistle when you can look back.”

Worrall’s openness and apparent lack of insecurity is illustrated when he is asked if he would have volunteered to take the penalty Morison scored at the weekend. “Probably not, no,” he admits. “I think it’s too soon to have the fans hating me had I missed! I wouldn’t fancy that.”

Given the way that bright personality informs his performances on the field, there’s probably little chance Lions fans won’t end up charmed by him.

John Kelly