BY RICHARD CAWLEY
Neil Harris piled praise on Murray Wallace after the Scot made his first start for Millwall on Tuesday night, writes Richard Cawley.
The former Scunthorpe United centre-back made his debut against Middlesbrough in the closing minutes on the opening day of the Championship season but played the full 90 in the League Cup win over Gillingham.
And his performance caught the eye of Harris, even if loan signing Ben Amos took the headlines for his penalty shootout saves.
“Murray was outstanding,” said Harris. “He showed his quality. He read the game really well and was aggressive in what he did. His anticipation and game management was superb.
“There were some strong performances. Conor McLaughlin was excellent at right-back – he used the ball well, so steady and assured in possession. You take that position for granted with Conor and Mahlon Romeo there.
“Ryan Tunnicliffe was superb in the middle of the park, in a slightly different style. I asked him to get on the ball a lot more and play.
“Ben’s penalty saves were outstanding. He is still finding his way since joining us. He is rusty because he joined midway through pre-season.”
Jiri Skalak – another of the new boys – also clocked up 83 minutes in his first start since signing from Brighton just before the season kicked off.
“He is all-action – hustle and bustle,” explained Harris. “He has got some real quality but due to rustiness he did not show that in abundance.
“We saw glimpses of what he’s about. He’ll get better all the time. The wide areas are a tough position to play for our football club – we have to have some understanding on that. You can’t take for granted the roles that Jed [Wallace] and Aiden [O’Brien] have performed so well for us in the first couple of games. Jiri will learn that as he goes along.”
There had been talk in the build-up to the Gills tie that highly-rated midfielder Lewis White, 19, could feature.
“Unfortunately Lewis has had a stop-start pre-season with the hamstring injury he had last season,” said Harris. “His involvement in pre-season has been very limited.
“Unfortunately that has cost him that experience of first-team football in pre-season and Tuesday evening.
“Other strong ones like Tom King, Sid Nelson and James Brown have already gone out on loan. Harry Donovan has gone to Dagenham for a month to get experience in men’s football.
“We released a few at the end of last season and our U23 is very, very young now – pretty much a teenage team.”