Portsmouth have first refusal on Millwall midfielder

BEN Thompson is a future Millwall captain and has been missed by the club this season, according to his boss Neil Harris.

Thompson signed off his loan spell at Portsmouth by playing a key role as Kenny Jackett’s side shocked Championship Norwich in the third round of the FA Cup at Carrow Road on Saturday.

Andre Green scored a 95th-minute winner but it is unclear if Thompson will be back with Jackett’s side for the fourth round.

A recall clause in the loan has been activated by Millwall, and Thompson will join the first-team Lions squad next week as they prepare for the visit of Blackburn to The Den next Saturday.

Thompson helped Portsmouth to the summit of League One, where they currently hold a five-point advantage over Luton.

Asked if Portsmouth would have first refusal on Thompson if Millwall decided to loan the midfielder out again, Harris said: “Of course. He’s had a brilliant loan, absolutely outstanding. Going to work for Kenny has been great for him as well, learning the game.

“We’ve missed Ben this season. It was the right thing to let him go because he didn’t play a lot of football the second half of last season. He needs to progress, and he has, but we’ve missed him around the training ground, we’ve missed him in the changing room and we’ve missed him on the pitch.

“I know it sounds crazy because we’ve just won four games in a row but leading up to that we hadn’t won in nine and Ben Thompson would have been a big player for us in that period.

“Moving forward in the second half of the season it’s about balancing the amount of players you’ve got, where players fit into the starting 11, on the bench, and making sure you use in the correct manner what you’ve got.

“Any player working with Kenny Jackett and Joe Gallen is going to come back with improvement because they’re good coaches.

“Ben will come back with a spring in his step, he’s been top of League One and playing well. He’ll come back with a point to prove and he’ll want to be in the team, he’ll be knocking on my door to want to be in the team. That’s the hunger and desire that you want.

“Ryan Leonard and Ryan Tunnicliffe have performed well over the Christmas period, Shaun Williams has been an important member of our squad for the last four years.

“Ben Thompson is a super young player who will continue to grow and, in my opinion, captain this club in the future and could go all the way to the top level.”

Image: Millwall FC 

John Kelly