Gary Rowett has described Ben Thompson as a “valued” member of the Millwall squad – and admitted that he isn’t “imminently” thinking about loaning out the midfielder.
Portsmouth launched a loan offer last week in an attempt to bring the 24-year-old back to Fratton Park on a season-long loan deal.
Thompson enjoyed a highly successful spell on the South Coast during the first half of the 2018-2019 campaign, scoring three times in 27 appearances and become an instant hit with the Fratton Park faithful.
The midfielder returned to Millwall in January of that season and worked his way into Neil Harris’ Lions side, proving a rare bright spark in what was otherwise a miserable campaign for the Londoners.
Thompson was a regular 12 months ago, scoring in Rowett’s first match in charge, but since suffering an ankle injury at Derby in December, has struggled to break into the starting XI.
He started the opening day draw with Stoke City, but hasn’t been involved in the league since then – with his only minutes coming against Burnley in the EFL Cup.
Despite Thompson’s frustrations, Rowett wants to keep the midfielder at The Den past Friday’s deadline.
The Lions boss told South London Press: “I’ve seen a lot of speculation at the Portsmouth end and the reality is some of the headlines have over-played the situation a little bit.
“They have obviously enquired because Thommo did really well for them and they’ve seen he has not been in our starting line-up for the league games, apart from the first one.
“Thommo is a valued member of our squad who works incredibly hard. I thought he was really good in the first half against Burnley.
“He wants to play at Millwall. But he also wants to play. I’m aware of that. There is no imminent plan but I always try to balance everything off. If we end up making two or three signings, there will always be one or two who desperately want to play football.
“I love Thommo as a lad. He’s a great character and solid member of our squad.
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“But I’m not imminently looking to get any of our players out on loan. Like I’ve said before there are three or four who probably haven’t played as much as they’d like.
“If any offers come in the window I’ll try and be honest with players. If a player comes and says they don’t want to be here and want to play, then if it is right for the everyone then we’ll sit down and have a conversation.
“I think that goes for every club up and down the country – exactly the same will happen.”
Thompson hasn’t featured in any of Millwall’s previous four Championship fixtures and was once more an unused substitute in their defeat at Swansea prior to the international break.
But the Lions only have four fit centre-midfielders available, so it’s understandable why Rowett is persistent in keeping him.
As for Thompson, a opportunity might only be around the corner – with Millwall playing six league games in just 17 days beginning with Wycombe on Saturday.