MILLWALL manager Gary Rowett said Mahlon Romeo’s absence from the side recently was down to Danny McNamara “grabbing the shirt” to keep his more experienced colleague out of the team.
McNamara – who was rated January’s player of the month by Millwall fans on NewsAtDen – started all six league games since his return from St Johnstone before Romeo returned for the 4-1 win over Sheffield Wednesday on Saturday.
Romeo started for the first time in the league since January 2 and came close to a goal when his surge forward and shot in the 90th minute nicked off Tom Bradshaw’s foot and was credited to the striker.
Romeo played his 200th game for Millwall this season and has been first-choice for the majority of the time since his debut in February 2016.
Millwall have had a hectic schedule this season – playing eight games in January – and Rowett has said he will need his entire squad to contribute.
He was asked after the win over the Owls about Romeo starting on the bench recently.
“Danny’s performances. Simple,” Rowett said. “Danny has come into the team and he’s been fabulous. He hasn’t done anything wrong, he’s grabbed the shirt and he’s kept the shirt.
“And that’s what you want to see a young player do.
“We need that competition for places. I just felt today with so many games after such a big effort, I thought you could see it with Maikel Kieftenbeld and Lenny [Ryan Leonard], they looked a little bit off it in terms of their usual energy.
“And that’s what happens sometimes after a big performance physically against a very, very good Norwich side who move you around.
“I just felt as though I needed to make some changes. Jed [Wallace’s] was enforced because he had a tight hamstring. It’s the first time I think I’ve not been able to start him since I’ve been here, apart from in cup games.
“The players responded really well after that first 30 minutes when I felt we were all a little bit underwhelmed and disappointed.
“I can understand when you haven’t won that many games at home. Even though there’s no fans there seems to be just that little bit of nervousness and just that eerie quiet around the place that just seems to transcend to the performance.
“Hopefully we’ve taken a step towards getting our form back.”
Image: Millwall FC