BY RICHARD CAWLEY
Neil Harris has praised Millwall chairman John Berylson after Jake Cooper signed a new deal at Millwall.
The Lions confirmed the centre-back – the subject of multiple bids from Glasgow Rangers in the January transfer window – had penned a contract extension.
And Harris, speaking to the South London Press, said: “We sold George [Saville] in the transfer window because we got unbelievable value for him and everybody understands that.
“But the chairman believes we are building something here. Every player has a value but in August the chairman was unbelievably supportive and wanted to keep the players. If you are going to keep them in the short term to want to keep them in the long term – Jed [Wallace] and Jake signing new contracts is important.
“It shows we are willing to have a long-term strategy to grow as a club as well.
“The chairman is willing to invest in the players in the long term and the players are seeing that and they want to put their futures with us.
“That will help with the players from outside as well. The chairman and the board are a huge part of that.
“[Players on the outside] see good, young talented players re-sign at the club and that it is a long-term fit. It shows they have that belief in place that the club is moving forward.”
Cooper has been a bargain signing from Reading, making a permanent switch 18 months ago after a loan spell at The Den.
“There is a lot more to come because Jake has got all the raw attributes to be a top, top centre-half,” said Harris. “He has shown that over the last couple of years with us.
“He’ll just keep improving because he has got a work ethic, good stature and – the biggest thing of all – he has got the desire to want to be better. He works well with Adam Barrett [first-team coach]. At 23 there is so much development in footballing terms and knowledge to be gained. It’s quite scary to think how good he can be.
“I’m certainly looking forward to working with him over the next few years, helping him develop in to a top, top player. I’m sure he can play at the very top level.”