Millwall boss on naming young guns Alexander and Hanson on bench for FA Cup tie against Premier League Everton

BY RICHARD CAWLEY

Millwall manager Neil Harris named two teenagers amongst his substitutes for the FA Cup win over Everton – and admitted he can’t understand why other clubs don’t always fill their bench.

The Lions were missing several first-teamers for the tie against Premier League opposition.

And Harris opted to name 18-year-old striker George Alexander, pictured above, and midfielder Jethro Hanson, 17, on his bench.

Alexander’s father Gary is a Lions fans who had a three-year spell with the club. Alexander senior won a League One promotion with the South Londoners in the 2010 play-off final.

“They are two young players who aren’t ready for first-team football at the moment but I wanted them to get the experience,” said Harris.

“There are quite a few teams who will only name five or six substitutes and I’ll never understand that.

“What an experience for young players to experience a matchday squad and that atmosphere, to be involved on the bench. 

“I wouldn’t have hesitated to have given them an opportunity, if it had been possible or I felt a need to. Until you put young players in you don’t know if they will sink or swim.

“We’ve got some young players out on loan playing non-league football. Our U23 team play at the tempo of our first-team but a lot of the opposition don’t.

“It doesn’t give a realism to what Championship football is about. We try and put our boys out in men’s football as early as possible to understand what winning and losing is all about.

“The opportunity came on Saturday for George and Jethro, like it has done earlier in the season and pre-season for people like Mason [Saunder-Henry] and Lewis White.

“It’s a good opportunity for them to learn in our environment.”