Butcher can be Millwall's midfield general

CALUM Butcher has admitted he is still finding his way at Millwall.

The midfielder joined the Lions from Burton in August but has started just two league games as he adapts to the 4-4-2 system his boss Neil Harris favours.

Butcher played in a three-man midfield in Burton’s promotion season, but he feels he has the all-round game to become an influential member of Harris' side.

“I hadn’t actually played a 90 minutes this season other than in pre-season,” Butcher told Lions Live this week.   “But learning the shape, really, and getting used to playing with the lads is probably something that I’m playing a bit of catch-up on.

“It’s definitely different but I’ve enjoyed playing in it so far and I think I do well in the system.

“Last year when Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink brought me in he wanted me to play a defensive role. And when Nigel (Clough) came in he let me have sort of a free role where I could go forward a bit more. I enjoyed that a lot more, and scored five goals after Nigel came in.

“I think that’s more my role, getting in the box and joining in the attack, which I like to do. I’d like to score a few more goals than I did last year, that’s a target I’ve set myself this year.

“For me it’s about getting around the pitch and breaking play up as well, winning the ball high up the pitch, which is what I like to do, and then obviously start attacks.

“I feel comfortable carrying the ball up the pitch and in a 4-4-2 it gives me license to do that a bit more.”

Millwall go to Northampton on Saturday looking for a first league win since August 27. And Butcher feels there is more quality in this Lions squad than there was in Burton’s last season.

“The squad we had last year at Burton was literally just grafters,” he said. “There were a few players in there that could score a goal, like myself, or we had (Mark) Duffy on the right who could score and (Stuart) Beavon up top, but other than that it was grafters.

“Everyone knew their jobs, everyone did what they had to do on a Saturday and we used to nick results. We used to come in after games and sometimes we couldn’t believe where we were in the league.

“We just put a run together and it didn’t stop. And definitely here at Millwall we’ve got a really good squad of players, there’s so much talent in the dressing room. That’s why everyone’s got the belief that we can turn this around.

“Confidence grows from winning games. You can play well but if you’re not winning it doesn’t mean anything.

“This club can go a long way and it’s definitely something I want to be part of.

“I want to bring goals to the side. I’ve got confidence in my own ability and as soon as I can get in the side on a regular basis I’m sure it’ll happen for me.

“Everyone wants to play on a Saturday, on a Tuesday, you want to play as much as you can. I’ve come into it understanding I need to learn, one, what way the gaffer wants me to play in my position and second I need to get used to my surroundings, used to my team-mates.”

Image source: ©Millwall FC

John Kelly