MILLWALL boss Neil Harris has praised two of his younger stars ahead of this weekend’s Sky Bet League One trip to Bury.
Harris introduced Jamie Philpot for the injured Lee Gregory at half-time in Tuesday night’s 1-0 win over Fleetwood, and the 19-year-old provided the assist for Steve Morison’s winner seven minutes after the break.
Mahlon Romeo has played every minute for Millwall since his senior competitive debut for the club again Walsall in February, and the defender was outstanding against Steve Pressley’s side as the Lions needed a resolute defensive performance to hang on for three points.
Philpot scored with his first touch in senior competitive football against Wolves last season, and Harris outlined the other qualities that he showed on Tuesday night.
“Jamie contributed the assist for the goal and I think it just shows what he is about,” Harris said. “His goal-scoring record in academy football speaks for itself.
“You don’t score two minutes into your league debut if you don’t have attributes as a goal scorer. So we know that’s there.
“But I think what he also gave fans a glimpse of is what he does without the ball. He’s reliable in holding it up, he’s a very clever player. And without the ball he’s got a work rate that I haven’t seen many better in all my years in football.
“He’s really intelligent pressing from the front and I think you saw that in our play (against Fleetwood) that we were able to press better at times.”
With Romeo in the side Millwall have kept nine clean sheets in 15 games and Harris was impressed with his how the right-back kept his composure in a tense contest against Fleetwood.
“I thought he matured as the game went on,” Harris said. “It would have been easy for me to lose my temper at half-time after the way we had performed in the first half. But there was nothing to be gained from that individually or collectively.
“So I just asked them to be more reliable when defending and take fewer risks in our own half, take the risks in the final third. That happened with the goal.
“I though the decision making of Mahlon and Joe Martin at full-back was really good at times, when to step in and intercept the ball and counter attack.
“Mahlon is always going to catch the eye in front of Joe because of his natural pace and athleticism. All of the young players have come in over the season and had an exciting five or 10 games, but then it’s consistency that’s key.
“I thought against Fleetwood in the first half Mahlon and Ben (Thompson) didn’t perform to their capabilities but they showed real maturity in their general play and that’s a big plus for me.”