Departing Millwall keeper identifies two key Lions players next season

DEPARTING Lions goalkeeper Tom King believes Alex Pearce and Ben Thompson can be leaders in the Millwall dressing room next season.

The Lions signed Pearce, 30, on a permanent deal from Derby last month, and have secured 23-year-old Thompson on a new three-year contract.

Harris had his most difficult season in 2018-19 managing a squad that was unsettled by bids for players after the campaign had started last August.

In the last week of the season, the Millwall boss also revealed some players told him they didn’t want to play for the club again. Harris said he had felt let down by the attitude of some of the squad, though he didn’t reveal who.

King, who confirmed a move to Newport this week, believes the squad needs to be built around players such as Pearce and Thompson

“People like Alex Pearce are going to be great for the dressing room,” King said. “There was a point when he couldn’t played against Derby in the league and he was training with the under-23s. He was actively telling younger lads to liven up in training. That’s the kind of work ethic and attitude that he brings to the squad.

“His voice in the dressing room is going to be great and the more characters like that the manager can bring in I think it will be better for the football club.

“You need your big voices in the dressing room. If they can really drive that forward the young lads will follow suit.

“Ben Thompson is a great example. He doesn’t necessarily lead with his voice but will lead with a big tackle in a game.

“Then sometimes you need people like Alex Pearce who can lead with his voice. Dave Martin was another one. You’d be at the other side of the training ground and you’d hear him screaming in a five-a-side game.

“What’s important now is the manager finds that balance in the market and see what he can get in terms of experience.”

*Read a longer interview with Tom King in today's Southwark News. He discusses his release by Millwall, his time at the club, David Martin's move to West Ham – and dressing room issues that Neil Harris spoke about last season.

Image: Millwall FC 

John Kelly