Former Chelsea starlet Saville enjoying his Millwall revival

© Millwall FC
© Millwall FC

GEORGE Saville was once part of Chelsea’s squad for the Fifa Club World Cup final.

But he insists he wouldn’t swap first-team football and the cut and thrust of League One and cup competitions for a place on the bench at a Premier League side as he prepares to help his current team get a step closer to Wembley.

Saville left Chelsea to join Wolves in August 2014 after featuring a number of times in the Blues' matchday squads without making a competitive first-team appearance.

But after playing just twice for Kenny Jackett’s side this season he decided to drop down a division further to fulfil a need to be involved in the relentless demands of playing in a first team week in, week out.

The 22-year-old midfielder missed Millwall’s FA Cup win first round over AFC Fylde at the weekend as he wasn’t given permission to play by his parent club, but he will come back into manager Neil Harris’ plans for the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy area quarter-final clash with Plymouth.

Home Park in the JPT on a Tuesday night in November is a far cry from the Yokohama Stadium in Japan where he experienced the thrill of being part one of the most prestigious games in world club football in front of almost 70,000 fans, but Saville is glad he took the decision to quit the club when a path to the first team looked too congested to negotiate.

He enjoyed his time at Chelsea, but now feels at home at Millwall where he has yet to taste defeat in six games.

“It was brilliant,” he said. “I had a really good nine or 10 years at Chelsea. I loved every minute of it but as I got older I wanted to play regularly.

“I had the privilege to train with the Chelsea first team under Roberto di Matteo. He was really good to me. I went to the club World Cup game in Japan in 2012. I was on the bench a few times and it was a really good experience.

“I had one more year left on my contract and they offered me a new deal, but we couldn’t really come to an agreement and we decided that it was best for me to go elsewhere.

“I had a brief spell at Millwall before and went on loan to Brentford and realised chances at Chelsea were limited and it was best for me to drop down to play regular first-team football.

“Obviously that didn’t work out for me at Wolves but I’m very happy with where I am now. Hopefully I can step back up and help Millwall back up.”

“I’m really enjoying it, it’s a really good group of lads. I haven’t lost yet so it’s going well.

“The boys have turned it around and I’ve helped out as much as I can. We’re in a good place right now.”

Saville’s aggressive style of play and commanding performances have won him the admiration of The Den crowd and the extension of his initial one-month loan until the New Year was met with approval.

But he insists he hasn’t thought about his future after January, when his loan spell is due to come to an end.

“I’m not looking long term right now,” Saville stressed. “I had a spell out when I wasn’t playing games. I want to get back to playing games, back playing well. I hope I can play 15 or 20 games until January and then see where it takes me.

“I’m not looking beyond that at the moment. I just want to get into a good rhythm and pattern and help Millwall climb up the table.”

John Kelly