GEORGE Saville has set his sights on emulating Millwall club legend Tim Cahill after completing his move from Wolves this week.
Saville, 24, said he was “delighted” to have signed a three-year deal with the Lions after two previous loan spells at the club.
Cahill made his debut for Millwall in 1998 after leaving his native Australia to try to forge a career as a professional in England and went on to play 251 times and score 57 times for the club before a £1.5million move to Everton in 2004.
Saville showed his own goal-scoring potential at Wolves after returning to the club after his second loan spell with Millwall in 2015-16. He scored five times in the final 13 games of that season as Wolves finished 14th under Kenny Jackett.
Explaining the background to his move this week, Saville said “a lot of boxes were ticked” by Millwall.
And after his two previous brief spells with club, he feels he has the all-round game to achieve the same level of success as Cahill.
“I think I suit Millwall with my work ethic, tackling ability and box-to-box play,” Saville said. “I know what it takes to be a good midfielder here.
“It’s nice to be here permanently now as well.
“You see legends here over the years. I want to replicate someone like Tim Cahill, a strong, solid midfielder that the fans like, and I think I’ve got the qualities to do that.
“Goals are bonuses. If I can chip in with a few, help the strikers out, that would be great.
“I felt like this was always an option, I’ve always had a good time here. I think I’m suited to here and I did well here before.
“It was an option given how fond I was of the club, and how, I think, the manager and the club were of me.
“It’s a good football club. It’s very simple, but simple works, if that makes sense. I know what I need to do to be a good player here. I like the work ethic of the club, there’s a good structure, it’s very settled and there’s a great group of lads here.
“So a lot of boxes were ticked for me. It didn’t take me long to make up my mind. I was happy because I thought it was a good opportunity for me and for the football club to play in the Championship this year.”
Saville played 30 times for Wolves last season, but yet another change of manager this summer – a fourth in four seasons – influenced his decision to leave the Midlands club.
The midfielder admitted once Millwall made it known they wanted to sign him on a permanent basis there was nowhere else he saw his future.
And he was pleased the deal was concluded before the first day of pre-season training this week.
“It was after the boys got promoted, there were ongoing conversations from about a week or so after that,” Saville said, explaining when he first heard of Millwall’s interest.
“It took a couple of weeks and it was good to wrap it up before the start of pre-season so I could get in here from day one.
“It’s no secret that it was very stop-start for me at Wolves. It’s a great football club and I had a good time there. I had four managers while I was there, a new manager has just come in.
“I felt it was the right time for me to leave for a new challenge.
“I don’t think there was anything else on the table, but that was maybe mine and my agent’s decision because of how keen Millwall were and how keen we were on Millwall. I don’t think we needed to look elsewhere.
“I’m back here now and I’m delighted.”
Saville joins a club that is one of the favourites to go straight back down. Steve Morison admitted after the League One play-off final win over Bradford that he would take fourth-last, an understandable ambition given the sheer financial power of some of the clubs they will compete with this season.
Wolves are just one example of how difficult it is to make an impact in the top half of the Championship table: they spent over £30million on players last season but could only finish 15th.
Huddersfield’s outlay, on the other hand, was just £1.8million – though they did make good use of the loan market, signing players from the likes of Manchester City, Liverpool and Chelsea – yet they won promotion to the Premier League through the play-offs.
And Saville isn’t setting any limits on what Millwall can achieve on their Championship return.
He said: “We can finish anywhere we want to. We haven’t got the money other clubs have and it’s obviously a very competitive league. It’s up to us and all we can do is give ourselves the best chance by working hard, showing a good ethic, good organisation and team spirit.
“We’ve got a very good group of lads, manager and management. I don’t see why we can’t do well next season.”
Image: Millwall FC