BEN Thompson has been challenged to “hit the ground running” when Millwall return for the start of pre-season next week – with the club eyeing a move for an attacking midfielder.
There has been speculation in the last two transfer windows over the future of Thompson, 25. Portsmouth were keen on the midfielder last summer after his successful loan spell there in 2018-19, but the Lions didn’t want to let Thompson go before first signing a replacement.
Thompson, who is approaching his eighth season as a senior professional, scored three goals in 34 appearances last season, 19 of them starts, though he was out injured from March to May.
His best role would seem to be as an advanced midfielder off a main striker – he scored the first goal of Rowett’s reign against Stoke from there – but if the Lions sign a player in that position then it could cast further doubt on where Thompson would fit in.
Rowett wants more goals from midfield and Millwall have bid for Sheffield Wednesday’s Josh Windass. But earlier this week the Lions were remaining tight-lipped on that potential move.
Thompson signed a long-term deal in June 2019 after a successful end of season following his return from Pompey.
“Thommo’s got another year left. It’s important that Thommo comes back in and hits the ground running,” Rowett told NewsAtDen.
“That’s really it.
“In any scenario unless a club makes an offer that’s a really good offer and you sit down with the player, not a lot of players will leave.
“It’s up to them to perform well to get into our team. It’s the same scenario for any of them if they haven’t played as much or haven’t made as many starts as they would like.”
Rowett will begin work on the training pitches with his squad from next Wednesday. The former Stoke boss has predominantly set his side up with a five-man defence since he took over from Neil Harris in October 2019, but he wants his team to be flexible.
“I’m never too het up on what formation we play, it’s about getting the best out of the players and giving ourselves the best platform to go and perform,” he said.
“So of course we’ve played 5-2-3 for the majority of the time and 5-3-2 towards the end of the season.
“But in home games we have gone to a four over the 20 months that we’ve been year.
“So I’m not set on any one particular formation, I’m not going to sit here and say we will play this formation.
“It’s more about the players and the options and improving next year with the team that we have.”
Image: Millwall FC