SHAUN Williams revealed it was his decision to hand penalty duties to Jed Wallace – with the Irish midfielder admitting he wasn’t in the right frame of mind after successive misses.
Wallace has scored six goals this season, four of them from the penalty spot.
Williams missed a penalty in the 2-1 defeat to Bristol City last April, and again in the 3-3 draw with Real Sociedad in the last pre-season friendly ahead of this campaign.
Wallace scored the second penalty awarded to the Lions in that latter game. And in the 2-0 win over Stoke in Gary Rowett’s first match in charge, Wallace – who had won the spot-kick after running 60 yards – revealed Williams encouraged him to take his time and compose himself before he beat Adam Federici from 12 yards.
Williams and Wallace are good friends, often travelling to training together as they both live in Biggin Hill.
“He’s confident and I think that’s probably the main reason for him taking them,” Williams said. “I’d missed my last two. In pre-season we got another one and I said to him, ‘look, you take it, I’m not in a position to take it’.
“I didn’t want to have that burden on me if I was to miss again, my head was all over the place after missing the previous two.
“If he can keep knocking them in then great. God forbid if he did miss one I’d want him to take the next one because he’s been doing so well.
“It’s helped him confidence-wise because he’s on six goals now. At the end of the season no one looks back and says, ‘half of them were penalties’. It’s been good for him.”
Meanwhile, Williams said his midfield colleague Ryan Leonard is putting in the hard graft to recover from a knee injury.
“For the two games before he got injured he was starting to find his feet. Obviously then Neil [Harris] left and he got injured. It was a big blow.
“I know now that he’s working his nuts off to get fit. He’s got to do all the fitness stuff again but he’s a fit lad and he’s working hard.”
Image: Millwall FC