‘Crucial’ – Millwall boss makes point about recruitment and what he wants for pre-season start

MILLWALL manager Gary Rowett has stressed it’s “crucial” that the Lions have new signings in before the start of pre-season training. 

Millwall were quickly out of the recruitment blocks last summer, bringing in five players – George Long, Scott Malone, George Saville, Daniel Ballard and Benik Afobe – before they went to their training camp in Edinburgh.

The sixth signing of last summer, Sheyi Ojo, arrived on August 31.

Repeating that percentage could be trickier this time around as pre-season will start a week or so earlier due to the Championship campaign kicking off at the end of July.

Millwall could be looking for at least the same number of acquisitions in the next transfer window, a number that also depends on potential exits including Jed Wallace.

“It’s crucial that we get players in early,” Rowett said.

“As a manager you need time to work with those players and get them up to speed on how we want to play.

“The fact that there is going to be a bit of change within the playing squad means that time to settle those players in will be really important.

“We’ll all work incredibly hard to try to achieve that.”

Daniel Ballard was one of five players signed before the 2021 summer training camp

One of Rowett’s aims this summer is to sign younger players with future add-on value and to lower the average age of the squad, though he acknowledges that is not easy.

“We’ve tried to do that with the young players here bringing them through,” Rowett said. “The likes of Danny [McNamara], Billy [Mitchell], Tyler [Burey] all started games together and certainly showed that there is a route through for younger players to go in and perform and help make our team better and more athletic.

“The aim before every summer, and it’s the same for most clubs, most clubs want to try to sign younger players with the potential to be real assets to the team both financially in the future and on the pitch.

“But those players cost money. They cost a lot more money than an experienced player who’s maybe not quite had the season they wanted.

“We’ll set out to do that, we want to try to do that. I’m more concerned about making the team better than about how old players are within that.

“If there’s a Premier League player that’s got incredible quality and he’s 28 then we’re not going to not sign him because he isn’t 23, 24.

“On the whole our plan would be to lower the age a little bit. We’ve got a good core of experienced players so we’ll work hard to try to do that.”

Image: Millwall FC

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