Millwall new boy Ryan not alternative to Leonard

NEIL Harris revealed Ryan Tunnicliffe was on Millwall’s radar all summer – and insisted he was not an alternative option to Ryan Leonard.

Millwall completed a deal for Tunnicliffe two days after they had seen a second bid rejected for Southend midfielder Leonard.

Tunnicliffe, 24, came through the youth system at Manchester United before joining Fulham in January 2014.

Tunnicliffe met his new team-mates for the first time at Millwall's open training session at The Den on Monday.

Harris had already increased Millwall’s midfield depth this summer with the signing of George Saville from Wolves, and the Lions boss explained the qualities that made Tunnicliffe a target.

“He’s athletic, he’s a box-to-box midfielder with real quality on the ball as well,” Harris said. “He’s hungry to prove himself.

“He had a great upbringing at Man United – you don’t come through their academy and get into the first team if you don’t have real ability.

“He came down to London to join Fulham and had some really good spells when he was in favour. Last year he found himself out of the team at times and was frustrated he didn’t get more of a chance.

“We’ve watched from afar over the course of the summer to see if he would become available to us and after a period of tracking him we were fortunate enough to get him.

“He’ll give us another dimension on the park, he’ll complement the midfielders we’ve got. He’s got the ability to break play up and pass the ball. He’s certainly got the ability to challenge, he’s aggressive.

“He was well renowned at United for getting into the box and scoring goals. He played in a different role at Fulham in the last couple of years, which limited his chances to score goals. I’ve said to him already I expect more goals from him this season.

“I wouldn’t say he’s an alternative [to Leonard]. He’s someone we’ve been looking at for some time and admired over more than one transfer window, without being in a position to challenge for his services.

“I spoke to his agent over the course of the summer. Obviously we have to cut our cloth accordingly, we’re not always going to be the most fashionable of clubs for talented players. It was a long chase to get him and we’re delighted he chose to come here in the end.”

Image: Millwall FC 

John Kelly