Millwall was 'stepping stone' – Boro's Saville

GEORGE Saville said his time at Millwall was "fantastic" for his career – but admitted a move to Premier League-chasing Middlesbrough was too good to turn down.

Saville was speaking about his transfer to Boro for the first time while on international duty with Northern Ireland, and he revealed he "didn't need that much convincing" over the move.

The former Chelsea midfielder had two loan spells with the Lions before a permanent switch to The Den in the summer of 2017.

He left on August's transfer-deadline day for a record outgoing fee for Millwall of over £8million.

"At this stage of my career it's a fantastic move for myself personally and one I'm really looking forward to," Saville told the media as he prepared with Michael O'Neill's side for their friendly against Israel on Tuesday.

"My very first loan move was Millwall so it's been a club that's been really good for me and my career.

"But at this stage of my career and the interest Middlesbrough showed in me, I couldn't turn it down.

"The goal is to play at the highest level, which is the Premier League, and with Middlesbrough I feel I can achieve that.

"Millwall was fantastic for me and gave me the stepping stone to get to the next level.

"For me, Middlesbrough is a club that is a Premier League club, so I didn't need that much convincing of the move.

"It's the right move for me at this time and I feel under a manager like Tony Pulis I can thrive off that and get myself and the football club into the Premier League.

"The style of play is not like the fantastic football Manchester City will play, but he [Pulis] is effective and he knows how to win football matches, and in the Championship that's what it's about and getting out of the league."

On the size of the fee, Saville added: "To me it's just a figure. In this day and age football is growing and transfers are becoming more expensive. For me it's just a positive move and an opportunity to go and progress in my career.

"I'm a London boy so that [moving to Middlesbrough] will be a challenge in itself. But the family I have and friends I have, I'll be fine. The move is one I'm ready for. I'm 25 now and I'm looking forward to it."

Image: Millwall FC 

John Kelly