Gary Rowett reveals hardest thing about Matt Smith’s role at Millwall

BY RICHARD CAWLEY

Gary Rowett has talked about Matt Smith’s impact on Millwall – with the striker notching his eighth goal of the season last weekend.

Smith fired home with his left foot against Reading at the weekend to put the SE16 outfit on their way to a 2-0 victory.

The big striker was signed by Rowett’s predecessor Neil Harris from QPR in the summer.

Rowett said: “When we first came into the club it was a hard one because the way that we needed to play early on meant we needed a lot of movement, energy and mobility.

“We felt it would be really hard for Matt to give it to us at the start of a game. It’s not his natural game and that is no fault of his.

“As we went along I spoke to Matt and said that as we became a better team we can play him a lot more. That’s what we’ve tried to do with everybody – tried to play them at the right time for the right game.

“In certain games Matt Smith is the perfect player and he has got so much more to give. If you get a lot of balls into the box he has a lot of quality – I’ve already said he is the best in the division at that, he’s so accurate with his head and so intelligent that he plays in the other strikers and helps our moves.

“The hardest bit for Matt is I’m not going to be able to play him every game – just because of the nature of what certain games demands. But certainly at home and some away games he has proved to be really, really effective. I’m pleased for him because every time he’s played he has given me real problems, because he has been such a goal threat.

“The kind of character he has got means he is popular with the players.”

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