Millwall “maverick” backed to add more goals to his game

BY RICHARD CAWLEY

richard@slpmedia.co.uk

Jed Wallace scored his first goal of the season on Saturday – and Millwall boss Neil Harris reckons the winger can hit the back of the net a lot more frequently.

The 24-year-old, the subject of an approach by Middlesbrough before the closure of the permanent transfer window in early August, put the Lions in front during Saturday’s 1-1 draw with Leeds.

The former Portsmouth and Wolves man pounced from close range after Jake Cooper flicked on Ryan Leonard’s long throw.

And Harris wants to see more of those type of finishes from Wallace, who has netted 12 times in 91 outings for the South London club.

“With Jed it is finding that consistency with his end product in terms of crosses and goalscoring. But as he matures that will just get better and better.

“I was delighted with his goal at the weekend. It was not a typical Jed Wallace goal – 15, 20 or 25 yards out and into the top corner. It was a second-ball contact and the ones we need to score. Aiden O’Brien is good at those.

“We’ve been talking a lot to Jed about getting into those sorts of positions and gambling more in the penalty area.

I knew he could get a goal like that but it is having the confidence to take those risks more often, popping up in those positions.

“Jed reads the game really well, intercepts the ball very, very well and can score a lot more goals in the penalty area.

“Jed is that maverick who has the star qualities that our fanbase love watching. He’s the kind of player that I love watching – his energy, drive and desire is infectious on the team.

“He is hugely important to us and I’m delighted he has got off the mark.”

Harris made two changes for the visit of Leeds with Ryan Leonard and Conor McLaughlin replacing Ryan Tunnicliffe and Mahlon Romeo.

“It’s clear to see that I’m still looking for that settled team to grab the bull by the horns,” said the Millwall chief.

“I think we did that on the first weekend against Middlesbrough but then had the upheaval of the transfer window, some unrest and injury to Hutch [Shaun Hutchinson].

We’re still looking for that top performance and top result to really drive us.

“Mahlon has looked jaded at the start of the season. He had a fantastic second half of last season and showed he is a young full-back progressing in the game.

“Macca did well on Saturday and can play at left-back and right-back, so in that sense I have three internationals to choose from in both positions.

“No disrespect to Tunni but Ryan had come in and given the place a real lift. He trained unbelievably well and impacted into training.

“His energy coming into the game was a big boost for us.”

IMAGES BY BRIAN TONKS