Ben Thompson was taken out of Millwall’s side to avoid the risk of picking up an injury.
Lions boss Neil Harris has revealed that is one of the main reasons why the 21-year-old – a back-to-back winner of the club’s Young Player of the Year award – has been replaced by Nadjim Abdou in the past three matches.
“Ben has been outstanding in the last two years – none more so then the end of the previous season when we got into big games,” said the Millwall manager. “But he has played a lot of football and you need to take youngsters out for a breather – it is not always ideal if that is right near the end.
“I felt Ben’s levels had just dropped off slightly in his stats. He looked like he was stretching that extra quarter of a yard to win the ball rather than getting there on the front foot. I was worried about injury.
“Jimmy Abdou has been chomping at the bit all season to get an opportunity and I thought Ben had come off a per cent or two. Jimmy has that experience of a big-game scenario and it seemed like time for him to come into his own a little bit.
“Jimmy has been outstanding – really, really impressive. He has given us that momentum and extra legs at key times.”