Millwall boss urges players with contracts expiring to 'earn' new deals

MILLWALL boss Neil Harris said he wasn’t currently thinking about players’ contracts – but urged those with deals expiring to “earn” extensions.

Over half of the Lions’ senior squad signed deals until 2020, though those contracts contain activation clauses for extensions or options for the club to extend.

Striker Tom Elliott activated a 12-month extension last season, while younger players such as Billy Mitchell will be hoping to earn new contracts beyond this campaign.

Millwall only give contracts of 12 months’ length to players over the age of 30. Shaun Williams, who will be 33 in October, signed a one-year deal last September that expires at the end of June 2020.

Harris has shown he is not afraid to let players’ contracts run down if he feels the need to refresh his squad. The Millwall boss was backed by his board in the summer when the likes of Jordan Archer, Conor McLaughlin and Ryan Tunnicliffe were not offered fresh terms and were allowed to leave on free transfers, with the club then recruiting nine senior players permanently or on loan.

Millwall won’t be rushing into deciding on the long-term futures of players.

“In the past we’ve made decisions early but I think now what we’re saying to the players is, ‘make sure you earn those contracts’,” Harris said.

“I really like the group we’ve got at the moment, we’re in a really good place. I’ve got to be honest, thinking about contracts isn’t at the forefront of my mind currently.

“We’re concentrating on being better with the group we’ve got.

“What I learned from last year, and we dealt with it in the summer, is we’ve always got to be better. We can’t afford to stand still at this level.

“So if players want to continue to rise with us, whether they’re 18 or whether they’re 33, they have to continue to improve and continue to show their importance to the team and the squad. Ultimately whether they’re in the team or not they have to show their importance, younger and senior ages.

“At the moment, in September, it’s all about the group of players we’ve got progressing.”

Image: Millwall FC 

John Kelly