BY RICHARD CAWLEY
Neil Harris reckons Ben Thompson has no chance of claiming his fifth goal of 2019 – even if the Millwall midfielder was celebrating their second in today’s 2-0 win over West Bromwich Albion.
The midfielder, so impressive in an advanced attacking role, put the ball in with pace and a Baggies defender turned it into his own net.
“He’ll be trying to claim it but he’s got no chance,” said Harris.
Thompson was a revelation on loan at Portsmouth before Millwall recalled him at the start of January.
“Since he came back from Portsmouth he has been a breath of fresh air,” said Harris. “We really missed him – not just on the pitch but around the training ground and the changing room.
“It’s still early days with Ben, he is learning all the time. We felt he needed to go and have a different voice and a different learning experience. We were fortunate that Kenny [Jackett] and Joe [Gallen] wanted to take him.
“They are good coaches and have developed a lot of good players here. We have changed our formation and it certainly suits Ben – it’s a 4-2-3-1 and gives him some freedom to play.
“His energy is infectious. I thought Lee Gregory deserved a goal. He could’ve scored, lets be honest, but his work ethic was outstanding. Jed and Marsh were the same.”
Asked about loaning Thompson to Pompey – and whether he thought he could play a role further forward for the Lions – Harris said: “We saw that in pre-season. But we had to make a quick decision [before the window shut] and we started really well with five points from the first three games. What do we do? Do we think he is going to get an opportunity? Individual performances dictated what happens.
“Unless you want somebody out of the building – to go out for a year – or they are very young and you want them out to play – most loans are with a view to bringing back or four months with a view to extending it. With Ben it was always four months and then assessing it.”