‘Future’s bright’ – but Lions boss lays down next challenge to Millwall youngsters breaking through

MILLWALL boss Gary Rowett said “the future is bright” after five players who came through the academy were in the squad against Crystal Palace last weekend.

Regulars Danny McNamara, 22, and Billy Mitchell, 20 started in the 2-1 defeat. Nana Boateng (above, left), 19, an attacker, came on and wasn’t far away from making a connection with Mitchell’s cross as the Lions chased a late equaliser.

Another youngster, who was signed for Millwall’s Professional Development Squad from AFC Wimbledon, Tyler Burey, 20, also impressed after coming on as a substitute.

Fifteen-year-old Zak Lovelace was on the bench with defender Besart Topalloj (above, right).

Millwall also have players out on loan such as Isaac Olaofe and Alex Mitchell who they believe can challenge for places in their first team.

Rowett has challenged the next generation who have got a taste of senior action to take the next step and “affect” league games.

“If you look at [Saturday] we had Billy Mitchell on the pitch, Danny McNamara, Tyler Burey, Nana Boateng. Young Zak Lovelace has played against Coventry recently.

“I’ve said it before, I think the future’s bright for the club, we’ve probably got as many young players in and around the squad as we have done previously.

Millwall forward Zak Lovelace

“What they’ve got to do is come on in these sorts of games and impact them. I thought they did. I thought Tyler did, he was quite bright to try and get balls in the box.

“It was a difficult period because Sheyi [Ojo] had been really, really good, Bradders [Tom Bradshaw] and Benik [Afobe] had been bright and at that point you just think maybe we’ve got to try something else. Every now and again that works, sometimes it doesn’t work and you lose a tiny bit of momentum in the game.

“But it was nice to see them get on the pitch and what they’ve got to do now is try to earn the right to affect first-team league games as well.”

Image: Millwall FC 

John Kelly