Millwall defender praises new recruits – but says those pushing them also deserve credit

BYRON Webster has praised the impact of Conor McLaughlin and James Meredith – but also highlighted the roles of those they are keeping out of the side.

The summer recruits have been part of a defence that has kept three clean sheets in eight league games this season, after replacing club captain Tony Craig and Mahlon Romeo in Neil Harris’ preferred starting XI.

Webster has recent experience of being dropped following a long spell of being first choice, when he was left out of the side for the first game of the season against Nottingham Forest.

He has been impressed with his new team-mates, but acknowledged those putting the pressure on their places in the side.

“Credit to them, they were in the League One team of the year last season so the gaffer did well to get them in,” Webster said.

“It’s also the people behind them. Mahlon did fantastically well for us last year, TC also. Myself and Hutch [Shaun Hutchinson] know we need to be on song because if we’re not there’s going to be a change.

“It’s a ruthless business.

“There’s no loyalty if you’re not performing, someone’s going to come in and take your place. The boys who have come in have all done well, but credit also to the boys behind who haven’t let them take a second breath and become complacent.”

Webster and his team-mates have also learned they can’t give high-quality opponents space to breathe, or they will get punished.

“They’re going for millions of pounds for a reason,” Webster said of the calibre of players Millwall are facing this season. “The first game we battered Forest and had it been 6-0 it wouldn’t have been unjust. They get one chance and put it in the top corner.

“The reason they go for high prices is because it doesn’t take them two or three chances, they put it away with one chance. That’s the main difference.

“The manager always says, ‘keep in the game’. Even at Wolves it was only 1-0 and we could have nicked it.

“Our job as a team and defensive unit is to not give many chances away. We know in this league we have players who can put the ball away from nothing. In the Wolves game it dropped to Willo [Shaun Williams] who has volleyed it and if that goes in people probably would have said it was daylight robbery.”

Image: Millwall FC 

John Kelly