Millwall boss on out-of-favour trio

NEIL Harris insists he would have no hesitation in throwing Ben Thompson, Shane Ferguson and Harry Toffolo into the fray, despite the trio being out of the first-team picture recently.

Thompson and Ferguson played key roles in two seasons in League One as Millwall won promotion to the Championship, but have been pushed down the pecking order this campaign after the arrival of new recruits.

Toffolo, 22, joined from Norwich until the end of the season in January and is hoping to earn a long-term deal.

Harris praised the three players for their contribution, despite their lack of game time.

“I’m very respectful of them. Humility as a person is always key,” Harris said. “They get paid by the football club to play games. The three of them come in every day and they are brilliant on the training pitch, they’re top lads.

“Fergie is an international footballer who has had a big impact at this club, so naturally he wants to play. Ben and Harry are different, a bit younger but with brilliant careers ahead of them, hopefully here.

“All three of them want to be involved, they want to be in the team let alone the match-day 18. It’s important that I have good communication with them. It’s not that they’re not in the squad because they’ve done something wrong. They’ve done nothing wrong, it’s just competition for places is high at the moment.

“Would I have any hesitation playing all three of them at any time? Of course not. Thommo and Fergie have proved themselves at this football club time and time again. Harry is different, he’s come in to prove himself and his chance will come.

“We brought in a lot of quality and leadership in January. I can only pick 18 players. It’s hard enough picking 11, even when you’re winning games.

“You contemplate changes, freshening it up: ‘does he deserve a chance, he’s been firing in training; he’s come and knocked on my door and is desperate to play.’ You want that drive, but if the team has won three games on the spin it’s unfair to take someone out.

“The players realise the importance of having a good squad. The squad realise that those three are just as important as, for example, Hutch [Shaun Hutchinson], Coops [Jake Cooper] and Jordan [Archer]. Everyone has to play their part.”

Image: Millwall FC

John Kelly