Warner: No coincidence it's Chopper who's got Millwall firing

Tony Warner
Tony Warner

EX-MILLWALL goalkeeper Tony Warner has praised the work his former team-mate Neil Harris has done in restoring values to the club this season.

Speaking to NewsAtDen, the former stopper, who played for Millwall between 1999 and 2004, said that the legendary striker has put together a squad that “are passionate and want to play for the shirt”.

Warner has been following the Lions’ fortunes this season and has been impressed with what he has seen.

He said: “I think the side Neil has put together is great. It's a side that the fans want. They've done well throughout the season. It's a good, strong, young side.

“They have loads of energy, are passionate and want to play for the shirt. That's the impression I get.”

Warner added: “I don't think it's a coincidence that it's Neil Harris that has put the side together. He knows what Millwall is about and he knows what the fans want to see.

“Recent managers in years gone past – Kenny Jackett aside – haven't quite got it, they haven't got what Millwall is about, which has been shown in player recruitment and in team selections.”

However, Warner, who played 225 times for Millwall over five seasons, didn’t necessarily think that Harris would end up managing the club.

“I wouldn't have said Chopper was going to make a good manager in his playing days. He was a level-headed fellow, but it was difficult to spot in those days who could make the step up.

“One other player you could see would was Sean Dyche – he was very focussed all the time. But I wouldn't have chosen Chopper. Not because I didn't think he could do it, but just because apart from Dychey, you couldn't really pick anyone out.”

Of the current squad, Denzil – so nicknamed due to his likeness to the Only Fools and Horses character – singled out fellow goalkeeper Jordan Archer for special praise.

“I think he's been excellent,” Warner said. “For such a young lad, he's commanding, athletic, organises his defence and kicks really well – he's an all-round good 'keeper.

“It's no coincidence that the club are where they are with a good, strong goalkeeper. Good teams need someone strong between the sticks and Millwall have that in Archer. I've been really impressed with him.”

Warner will be at Wembley on Sunday to cheer on Millwall and he believes that the encounter with Barnsley will be tough: “It won't be a walkover. Hopefully the lads won't get carried away about getting to Wembley. There's a job to be done there and Barnsley aren't a bad side. They took the semi-final and blew it up, winning 6-1, so they're no mugs and will go into the game confident.”

“You'd be mad to say it's a guarantee (that Millwall will win) as nerves will play a part, but why not? Millwall are there because they deserve to be there, they've done well throughout the whole season.

“Chopper's got them firing on all cylinders and the plans he has put into place have worked, so you've got to go into it with confidence and fancying yourself. If you do that, you've got a really good chance.”

“Ability-wise, there isn't much difference between the two teams. The difference could be that one team knuckles down, while the other side gets overawed by the occasion. As long as nerves don't play a part, I'm backing Millwall.”

Mark Litchfield