Transfer rumours didn't affect Millwall – Webster

BYRON Webster has insisted recent speculation over the futures of a number of Millwall players hasn’t affected the harmony of the dressing room.

After a season when the Lions exceeded expectations to finish eighth in the Championship table in 2017-18, this summer has seen some key players linked with moves away.

Milllwall boss Neil Harris admitted it had been a challenging time, from Glasgow Rangers bidding for Jake Cooper and Middlesbrough trying to sign George Saville and Jed Wallace.

Millwall have lost their last two league games, but Webster dismissed the notion players have been unsettled by recent reports and rumours.

“It’s what happens. If you do well you’re going to get attention, footballer or a shop assistant or whatever else,” Webster said.

“We all speak about it but none of us knows what’s happening, only the people involved. Football is a weird environment, there’s a lot of banter going on.

“Usually it’s made a joke of whoever is involved. That’s the case.

“The expectation around the club as a whole is massive. Going to – and I don’t mean this badly – Rotherham and losing, people expect us to win that.

“Going to Sheffield Wednesday, okay they didn’t start well, but we should go and win. But we’re not entitled to go to these places and win. We have to put the work in and hopefully the win comes through that.

“There will be a number of times through the season when we’ll play rubbish and get a win, and then it’ll be the other way when we’ll play well and not get the win.

“There’s no way you’ll go through the season – unless you’re Man City – and not lose a game. I think it’s just a coincidence that the transfer window is still open and the results haven’t been as good, even though it was only two results.”

After recovering from knee ligament damage he suffered last September, Webster started just his second senior competitive game since then in Millwall’s 3-2 EFL Cup second-round win over Plymouth on Wednesday.

He is in contention to partner Jake Cooper in the centre of the Lions’ defence against Swansea on Saturday with Shaun Hutchinson out injured.

But even before Hutchinson was sidelined, Webster was determined to fight for his place in the side.

“I wasn’t going anywhere,” he insisted when asked if he had considered going out on loan this summer. “I had the question asked, how do I keep myself motivated? It’s just my family, that’s the main thing. Not to prove people wrong, but to prove I’m the Byron Webster of before I got injured.

“It ended careers 10 or 15 years ago, but I’ve had the best surgeon, the best rehab, touch wood no problems at all throughout the comeback.

“It was an isolated knee injury, there was nothing else in the knee that was damaged. It was just the ACL (anterior cruciate ligament). And somehow I carried on the game when I did it.

"The sports scientists, the physios have been brilliant. I was probably training a month before the end of [last] season, involved in little bits. I did have a summer but I was down in Southend with the sports scientist, I was training everywhere.

"Even though I have only played a certain amount of games I have been training for a good few months.

"Every day I’m feeling stronger. As long as I can get back to where I was, happy days."

Image: Millwall FC

John Kelly