SHANE Ferguson has revealed how Millwall’s footballers spend some of their time off the pitch – by doing set-piece homework on the opposition.
Ferguson said earlier this season he has often been told off by staff for staying on the training pitches too long, practising free-kicks and corners.
And he and his teammates apply similar diligence to know the strengths and vulnerabilities of opposing sides.
The extracurricular work has paid off recently. The clean sheet in the 3-0 win over Blackpool last Saturday was the Lions’ sixth in their last eight games.
The results of the Northern Ireland international’s solo work with dead balls at the training ground on Calmont Road have also been obvious. He has six assists in the league this season. Five of Millwall’s goals in their last three games have come from set plays, with Ferguson’s deliveries key to two of them.
And he says that’s simply down to proper preparation.
“Some of the staff keep reminding about the assists,” he said. “It is something I’m proud of, I want to keep helping the team as much as I can. I want to keep working hard on my game and try and get more out of myself in every game.
“I try to better myself every day. I’m always working hard in training. It’s good here because the coaches stay back with you as well if you want to do a bit extra. That always helps your game.
“Set-pieces is one of the biggest things for us, we’re always practising them with the manager. Even sometimes the lads will take sheets of paper home just to know where they’re going to be defending at set-pieces
“We don’t always get it right but it’s a nice feeling when we do. We know where a team’s strengths and weaknesses are.
“On Saturday, Blackpool were a massive team, so we knew we had to be clued in with our own defensive set-pieces and know what to do, where too be.
“Thankfully it’s worked out in the last few games.”