Millwall manager Gary Rowett on reason behind Mahlon Romeo’s loan move to Portsmouth

MILLWALL boss Gary Rowett said the desire to play regular football was behind Mahlon Romeo’s deadline-day departure and admitted he couldn’t offer the defender the guarantee of that with the Lions.

Romeo, 25, joined League One Portsmouth on a season-long loan on Tuesday and could make his league debut at MK Dons on Saturday week.

Romeo had been first-choice for the Lions for the majority of the time since making a goal-scoring debut in a 3-0 win at Walsall in February 2016 before Danny McNamara made the right wing-back position his own after returning from St Johnstone last January.

Former Gillingham defender Romeo played just 135 minutes in the Championship this season and was absent from three of the five match-day squads.

McNamara is currently injured but Billy Mitchell and Ryan Leonard can play in the position.

“Mahlon’s been a fabulous player for us over the two seasons that I’ve been here,” Rowett told NewsAtDen. “Danny McNamara came back from St Johnstone to stake a claim for that place and is doing really, really well.

“We’ve also got Lenny and Billy who have proved that they can play there as well.

“And Mahlon at this stage of his career really wanted the chance to play more regular football. I couldn’t guarantee that.

“He goes with our best wishes and, like I said, he’s been brilliant for us.

“I hope he goes on to have a really strong season. It was a difficult decision but sometimes you have to allow people to move on and play football on a more regular basis if you think it might be difficult for them to do that here.”

Image: Millwall FC 

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John Kelly