Millwall have had a steady start to the 2021/2022 Championship season as they look to push for the playoffs following a couple of seasons in midtable.
The Lions currently sit 11th, only tasting defeat twice but drawing six of their games.
Scoring goals has been an issue for Millwall this season, hence the number of draws they’ve had so far this season. They’ve scored just 11 so far, the joint fourth lowest in the league.
With the lack of goals preventing Millwall from rising up the table, there’s more onus on their forwards to contribute more after years of relying on Jed Wallace’s brilliance in games.
That is a challenge that summer signing Benik Afobe is enjoying as he admitted he “wants pressure”. He told London News Online: “I feel like the players rely on me and they put pressure on me, which is always good.
“I’m someone who thrives off the pressure. I know a lot of people find that hard, but I prefer when people are counting on me to make things happen.
“They’ve given me that responsibility, and I like it. I’m just trying to take the opportunity with both hands.”
Afobe had scored twice in eight appearances in the Championship so far this season but has also contributed to two penalties, proving to be an astute signing so far for The Lions, since joining on loan from Stoke.
One of the reasons for the positive form is Gary Rowett. The former Birmingham City, Derby, and Stoke manager brought him to Millwall after previously signing him for the Potters, and Afobe went onto explain how much he’s enjoying his football Rowett, as he added: “The main thing I really, really like about Gary [Rowett, Millwall manager] is that you can play wherever you want, as long as you’re getting in good positions and trying to create things in the final third.
“As a forward, that is music to your ears. I don’t like those rigid ‘I want you to stand here and do this’. As long as we’re trying to make things happen and we’re working hard for the team, he’ll let us do whatever we want.
“I like those kind of management skills. I’m just hoping that I’m not going to let him down now.”
It’s clear Benik Afobe is a talented player. If it wasn’t for injuries and perhaps a move to the Premier League to Bournemouth that came a year too soon, he would certainly still be playing top-flight football.
So for Millwall to be able to get him in on loan is a massive coup for the club. He’s shown so far that he is a threat, and is competing. The worrying thing for opposition players is Afobe probably hasn’t reached top gear yet, and he will be even more of a threat once he does.
Afobe could be the player to push Millwall over the line for a playoff push. If he stays fit, there’s no doubt that he can do that.