CHIEF executive Andy Ambler believes Andros Townsend's loan spell at Millwall two years ago was an important moment in the England winger's career.
Townsend scored on his Three Lions debut against Monetenegro and put in another dazzling performance against Poland last night to help Roy Hodgson's side qualify for next summer's World Cup finals in Brazil.
The 22-year-old midfielder was loaned out by parent club Tottenham nine times during his development, but Ambler believes his time at The Den was especially crucial.
After three successful spells in League One, Townsend made the step up to Championship football, first with Ipswich Town and then with Watford, but struggled to make his mark.
It wasn't until Leytonstone-born flyer was taken on by Kenny Jackett that he kicked on again, scoring twice in 11 appearances for Millwall.
Ambler said: "We're delighted for Andros. When he came here in 2011, it was a short stint but a good one and it was important for his development. We took him from Spurs on a youth loan knowing that there was no chance of keeping him permanently.
"We got him back on track after his loan spell at Watford, which for some reason did not work out. We took him on and gave him another chance, which he seized with both hands.
"He showed glimpses of what he could do way back when he was with us, so his level of performances for England are not surprising. It shows that we are situated perfectly to give young players an opportunity – and if it suits us to do it, it's a win-win situation. Young players can thrive at Millwall."