Millwall midfielder reveals Championship objective

BEN Thompson welcomes the extra competition in the Millwall squad this season – and believes Neil Harris will have a tough job picking the starting XI for the opening fixture at Nottingham Forest.

Harris brought in George Saville from Wolves this summer and wants another midfielder to add to his options.

Thompson partnered Shaun Williams in the second half of the pre-season friendly against Dartford last Saturday and scored the equaliser in a 1-1 draw.

“Competition is good, I think it makes everyone work harder to try to get into the team,” Thompson said. “George is a great player as we saw before when he was here.

“There’s going to be good competition in the group with every position. Everyone is working hard and it’s going to be tough for the manager to decide who is in the team at the start of the season.

“[The new signings] are all top lads and great guys, we’re going out having coffee together, they’ve settled in well. We’ve got great morale in the team, great team spirit and that’s part and parcel of why we did well last season. To carry that on will be important.”

Thompson was a regular in the side last season until the final four games, when Jimmy Abdou was preferred alongside Williams.

Thompson, 21, was on the bench for the play-off final win over Bradford but that didn’t take away from his joy at winning promotion.

“It was the best day of my life and obviously the holidays after it and celebrations were unbelievable,” he said. “It was the best summer of my life.

“Obviously I’m not going to play every single game, I will have off-days and injuries. Missing the last four games last season was gutting. But being a Millwall fan, to go up to the Championship was a massive achievement, and to be part of it playing 48 games or something like that was great.

“I haven’t played in the Championship yet, but the standard is obviously going to be high.

“We’re going to play some tough opposition but I think we can do well, I think we can get mid-table.

“Top 10 would be a push – it would be a great achievement.

“But I think we’re looking at mid-table. Staying up in the Championship would be a great achievement to build on from last season.

“The Championship compared to League One, you’ve got players in there worth millions and millions. Teams have lots of money and have players on high wages, but we’ve got to learn to deal with that because we’re competing in that league now.

“We can’t go into games thinking about other players, we’ve got to do it ourselves.

“I’m looking forward to all the different away games, different players, it’s going to be an exciting season for all of us.”

George Saville will add competition to Millwall's midfield.

Thompson finished his chance well against the Darts at the weekend, and wants to be more of a threat around the opposition box this season.

He said: “I struck it with my left foot and it managed to tuck itself right in the corner. That’s what I’ve always said I’ve needed to add to my game, goals and assists.

“To get that [Saturday] was a good feeling.

“We live and learn, that’s what pre-season is about, defeating obstacles that get put in front of you. They were strong opposition, we did well to get the draw but we can do better.

“We’ve been working very hard the last two weeks, we’ve been in the gym and out on the field doing loads of running.

“Everyone is feeling it but it was good to get 45 minutes in the tank. I’m feeling good and raring to go.”

Image: Millwall FC 

John Kelly