AIDEN O’Brien said he “woke up happy” on Tuesday morning after signing a new long-term deal with Millwall.
The club moved to secure the attacker until the summer of 2019 to head off interest in the 22-year-old from the Premier League following a number of eye-catching performances this season.
O’Brien has scored 10 goals in all competitions and has proven his versatility by playing up front and on either wing from where he has scored six times.
The former Republic of Ireland international signed a two-year deal last summer, but he revealed there was an agreement that Millwall would revisit the terms if his form merited it.
O’Brien said: “I woke up happy and I feel that the new deal took a lot of weight off my shoulders.
“There were a lot of talks in getting a new deal in the past month or so and it hadn’t been done. I’m glad it has now and I can concentrate on my football.
“It was always agreed with the manager and my dad and myself that if I were to do well then we would basically rip up the contract I was on and go for bigger and better things.
“I’ve proved myself on the pitch and that’s what’s happened.”
“I wouldn’t have got the contract I wanted if I hadn’t got the goals this season that I’ve got so far. Although I play out in wide positions and all around the front my main target when I go on that pitch is to score goals and that’s what I’ve been doing so far.
“It’s always nice to know you’re wanted. It’s a nice thing to get that stability as a young kid of 22 still learning the game. It’s good that I’ve got another few years with a good club that backs me and I hope to see how I progress as a player.”
This time last year, O’Brien had made just five appearances for the first team and had yet to score his first senior goal for the club. He acknowledges the pace of his development since has taken him by surprise.
“It’s crazy,” O’Brien said, “It just shows me how much can change in one year. You can be playing with the reserves and not getting much time in the first team and then down the line you’re one of the first people on the teamsheet and scoring goals.
“Everything has gone right. I didn’t really expect it to happen this fast. I did expect it a couple of years ago, I thought I was ready but it didn’t quite happen for me.
“The gaffer has showed his belief in me as well and I’ve paid him back with goals.”