Millwall midfielder Ben Thompson says the club was a “horrible” place for him to be at as he struggled for game time last season, and says a loan move to Portsmouth earlier in this campaign is the reason for his current good form.
Thompson made just three Championship appearances throughout the whole of last season, but has become a regular since returning from his Fratton Park loan in January, and has been key player for Millwall since doing so.
Reflecting on his struggles in Millwall’s first campaign back in the Championship last season to News Shopper, Thompson revealed: “Just playing in the cup games and coming on as a sub every now and then was demoralising.
“It was a horrible, horrible place to be in and I didn’t want to be in that position again.”
But with Millwall producing a push for the play-off places last season, Thompson says it was hard to make a case for a spot, adding: “The team did so well, I couldn’t argue.
“I’d never played in the Championship before so couldn’t tell the manager ‘I’m better than these players, why aren’t I playing?’ because they were doing well, so it was tough.”
Now however, Thompson has become a vital figure in Millwall’s battle against relegation, something he says is down to that time at Portsmouth earlier in the season, claiming: “I’ve come back a better player than I was before.
“Now I’m playing with freedom and just feel like -‘what’s the worse that can happen?,’ it’s a game of football at the end of the day.
“You can’t beat that buzz on a Saturday afternoon, knowing you’re going out in front of ten, 15, 20 thousand fans at Pompey, you can’t beat it!”
You feel Millwall fans may be just as grateful for that Portsmouth loan spell as Thompson himself is, given the contribution he is now making to The Lions’ cause.
The 23-year-old is a constant threat from midfield, both creating for others and taking them himself, and those of a Millwall will hope he continues to do just that as they move slowly towards the finishing line.