Millwall do not have the money for an academy similar to Southampton’s or even Barcelona, but are certainly beginning to produce some young talent once again.
The Lions academy previously produced players like Teddy Sheringham and Razor Ruddock, who both went on to become legends of the game. But, that was back in the late 1900s. As times have changed, football has progressively become more and more money orientated, clubs are spending millions of pounds on players and also investing heavily in their academies. Millwall cannot ‘keep up with the times’ if you like, when it comes to the money side of football and when Real Madrid spent mega amounts for Gareth Bale, Lions fans can only envy them.
Academy boss Scott Fitzgerald and the Lions board have introduced a four year plan for the Millwall academy, which has just entered its third year. The initiative was put in place just after Millwall were given their category two status. Since then, Millwall are beginning to bring through some g0od young talent.
Ian Holloway has vowed to give the young academy graduates a chance in the first team over the course of the season and has already handed Jack Powell and John Marquis starts against Southampton and Sid Nelson a start against Stevenage. Both Powell and Nelson have impressed both the coaching staff at Millwall and the Lions fans in their first starts.
Powell made his full debut against Premier League Southampton and impressed massively. The centre midfielder was calm and composed on the ball, he was happy to drop deep and receive the ball from Millwall goalkeeper David Forde and take on the Southampton players. He could be likened to Steven Gerrard because of the way he sprayed the ball about the park from a central position. Academy graduate Jack Powell could soon be heading for the bright lights of the Premier League if he keeps up that standard of performance.
And Sid Nelson, who has suffered with a recent injuy, was given his opportunity in the first team in pre-season and also showed how well Neil Harris and Scott Fitzgerald are doing with the young players. He was committed when making challenges and was solid at the back, he also looked good going forward. Nelson will surely be in the first team picture once he returns from his injury.
So, with the Lions academy improving dramatically over the last few years, it is sure to produce even more players like Sheringham who can potentially hit a high level in the game.