Defender: Millwall are the best set-piece exponents I have played for in my career


Murray Wallace reckons that Millwall are the most potent side he has played in for scoring from set-pieces.

The Lions make no qualms about their strength in the air and direct approach being a major source of goals.

Wallace and Jake Cooper have both scored two goals apiece. And there are even more chances to get into the box with Ryan Leonard’s long throw – making nearly any ball going out of play in the opposition’s half a prime opportunity to push at least some of their big men forward.

“This is probably the most dangerous team from set-pieces that I have been involved in,” said Wallace, who has played for Falkirk, Huddersfield Town and Scunthorpe.

“It’s not just the height of Coops. You’ve got Hutch [Shaun Hutchinson], Willo [Shaun Williams], Lenny, big T [Tom Elliott] and Moro [Steve Morison]. That is six players I’ve just named who are six foot or over.

“It is hard for teams to defend against us. Before a game we will look at set-pieces and see how the opposition line up – zonal or man-marking – and find areas we can expose them.

“A lot of goals are scored from it, so we must be doing something right.”

It begs the question whether defenders like Wallace should up their expected goal target because it is such a rich source for the Lions.

Wallace, signed from Scunthorpe United in June, was switched to left-back for Saturday’s 3-0 victory over Ipswich Town. Vice-captain Hutchinson returned to partner Cooper.

“I am naturally more suited to centre-back and it is a position I have played a lot more in,” said Wallace. “But I do enjoy left-back. You get a bit more involved in the game, there is more attacking and it is a different defensive test – up against sharp wingers.

“I probably played close to half of last season there, so it is not un-natural to me at all. As a defender you are there to defend. It doesn’t matter if you are marking a striker or a winger, the job still remains relatively the same – to stick your foot in and win a few headers.”

Millwall will look for a third clean sheet of the campaign when they go to Brentford tomorrow.

“The team probably kept as many if not more than some of the teams who got promoted last season,” said Wallace. “Just because it happened then doesn’t mean it’s going to come naturally again. It’s something we have to work harder on.”

Images: Photographs by Keith Gillard

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