MAHLON Romeo could give his manager Neil Harris another option this season – as a centre-back.
Romeo played 18 consecutive games as a right-back from his debut against Walsall in February until his red card on the last day of the season at Gillingham ruled him out of the play-offs.
In early June he joined his Antigua & Barbuda team-mates for their 2017 Caribbean Cup qualifiers against Puerto Rico and Granada. Romeo, who will turn 21 on September 19, played as a right-wing back in the first game, a 2-1 defeat, and then in the centre of defence in the 5-1 win over Granada.
Former Gillingham defender Romeo believes he has developed physically in the last number of months with his involvement in the first team, but he is not taking his place in the starting XI for granted despite taking the league by storm as Millwall finished fourth last season.
“I’ve been doing a lot of gym work whenever I’ve got the chance after training.” Romeo said. “I think I’ve naturally grown as well.
“I wouldn’t say I’m a first choice, it’s completely up to the manager. It’s a new season and it’s up to him to choose between me and whoever else is available for that position.”
Despite his modesty, Romeo will start the campaign as Harris’ first-choice right-back. Carlos Edwards departed the club earlier this summer, and Shaun Cummings is still a number of weeks away from a return to competitive action.
Injuries to those two last season forced Harris to thrust Romeo into his side, but a series of powerful performances, typified by his astute defensive reading of the game and rapid, intelligent surges into attacking positions, meant he was soon an established regular even after Edwards had regained fitness.
His suspension for the play-off final against Barnsley unbalanced Millwall and ultimately contributed to the defensive uncertainly that cost them the game.
Romeo wants the squad to use the memories of that day to inspire them this season.
“I was in the dugout with the boys and it was one of the most gutting experiences to not be involved,” Romeo admitted. “But it’s part and parcel of the game. I was still proud watching the boys and it was a great experience even though I didn’t play.
“I think this season we’ll definitely have that in the back of our heads and use it.”
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