Millwall youngster wants to emulate Gregory

FRED Onyedinma will keep trying to get into goal-scoring positions – despite the disappointment of seeing what he thought was a late winner ruled out against Rochdale last weekend.

Onyedinma, who had been on the pitch just two minutes, slotted home from Steve Morison’s cross but his celebrations were cut short by an offside flag.

That disappointment was compounded when Ian Henderson scored a 93rd-minute penalty to hand the Lions their first league defeat at home since February.

Millwall boss Neil Harris has used Onyedinma as a centre-forward this season, and he got off the mark with a goal against Barnet in the League Cup in August.

Onyedinma has proven his goal-scoring nous before. He scored eight goals on loan at Wycombe in 2014-15, but the fact they came in two different bursts of consecutive games indicates he is a player who thrives when his confidence is high.

The 19-year-old attacker admits that is the case, and he wants to make sure that when he finds himself in a similar attacking position at The Den again the result will be different.

Onyedinma said: “The gaffer said I was offside but it happened so quickly. It’s just something you have to learn from. The next time I have to keep my composure and make sure I’m onside.

“When the ball came I tried not to panic because that’s not what you need. I think I could have done better to keep onside.

“With me it happens naturally. Once I’m through on goal I already have that mindset of ‘goal, goal, goal’. Once you have a doubt and start thinking, ‘I’m through, but I might miss’, that’s when you miss.

“You have to have the confidence to know you’re going to score.

“For someone in my position, once you start scoring you get the adrenaline to keep scoring and you find everything just goes well for you.

“With me, if I get the ball behind I know I’m going to score. When you’re in the box you get excited and just want to finish. Once I start scoring I just keep going, I showed that at Wycombe.

“Every time I got on the pitch I thought I was going to score, you just get that confidence. When I first started there I was playing on the wing but I was kind of cheating by staying up there. But when I moved up front I scored as well.

“Last season I was more of a midfielder and we would do more long-range shooting. But this season I’ve been with the strikers and we always practise finishing in the box after training.”

Onyedinma also revealed one of those strikers is someone whose game he is trying to emulate.

He explained: “If I were to choose, my game would be more like how Lee Gregory plays, just trying to run behind and cause problems. He scores most of his goals from in the box. I want to try to get in there at the right time.

“You have to build that relationship (with strike partners). It’s not easy because sometimes you don’t know where the ball is going to land. It’s about being proactive, you have to be on your toes and react before the defender.

Millwall’s form has hit a rocky patch after a good start to the campaign, but Onyedinma insisted everyone is pulling in the same direction to try to go one better than last season.

“We have to keep training hard and go out and do it on Saturdays and Tuesdays,” Onyedinma said.

“That’s what the coaches and manager are for, they show us videos and give us feedback. We need to improve on that.

“Everyone is still learning, even the older players. They’re teaching us so they’re learning how to speak to younger players and make us improve. It helps their leadership skills as well.”

Image source: ©Millwall FC

John Kelly