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Meet the Manager

Photo courtesy of Millwall Football Club

On the evening of Monday 2nd December, new Millwall manager, Gary Rowett, sat down with both Millwall CEO, Steve Kavanagh and assistant manager, Callum Davidson to discuss his arrival at the club and visions for the future. The below topics were what was discussed by the new gaffer:

With regards to squad size and injuries at present - Gary Rowett referred to Shane Ferguson as a player who is a good quality member of the squad who is more than capable of playing in two positions. So when a player like him is injured, it is like losing two players.

On whether Millwall will sign foreign players in the transfer market - When asked if Millwall would perhaps look into the foreign and abroad markets for players, Rowett made it clear it does not matter the nationality of the player, but whether or not they would fit in the team and squad.

Budgets and what Gary has to spend in transfer windows - There is no real budget allocated to Gary Rowett, however if there is a player who is in a realistic price range, he will consult with John Berylson & Steve Kavanagh about whether the player is affordable or not.

On our away form - The home form is worthy of top six, yet the away form is bottom of the table standard. One of the first things for Rowett to do was turn that around. Giving Jed Wallace more freedom was just one example of a change and this seems to have seen an upturn in form, especially away from home.

On pressure to keep players - Gary Rowett, Steve Kavanagh and the backroom staff are under no pressure from John Berylson to sell players. The Chairman's view is to not develop and grow a player here, and then sell him on to someone else if he can help it.

Bialkowski's loan at The Den - Bart’s situation is he is happy here and wants to be here, but it’s still a year’s loan. The situation with Bart is complicated, as he failed a medical prior to the start of the season, but he still wanted to play for Millwall in the Championship, so therefore the deal was made a loan instead of permanent.

Changes from Neil Harris' time at the club - Little things have been changed with Neil Harris’ regime. They want the players to get better, think and adapt for the games. But one of the main things that’s changed is the days that the team are in for training. This has been amended, but it still allows for recovery prior to a Saturday fixture. An important thing, also, is that in the last ten minutes of games when we are winning, to try to see games out rather than end-to-end football.

Influences in their managerial careers - Gary Rowett and Callum Davidson’s influences over the years have been little bits from those they have worked for, and under, in the past. Not just one person, but the best bits of all different managers, but ultimately Rowett & Davidson try to find their own style in how they manage. Both mentioned Roy Hodgson, Jim Smith and Craig Brown as those who have provided some of the best advice.

Modern diets in the game - There’s certainly value in vegan diets, and this has been influenced by Netflix documentaries. Rowett is a big believer in doing your own research into foods and diets. They have a dietician visiting to go through and discuss the diets as some of them out there may be myths.

Has Gary given the hairdryer? - It’s not often that Rowett uses the ‘hairdryer’ treatment. He is open for players to give their opinions, but he will use the ‘hairdryer’ if needed.

Previous experiences at The Den - The manager never used to like visiting The Den as the opposition, but the club perception from an opposition point of view is a really unfair reflection of the club as a whole. It is probably the most friendliest club he’s been at so far - from backroom staff, players and fans. It’s been really enjoyable so far, but if he loses a home game 4-0 then he expects to get some abuse!

Playing style - Rowett has always liked to have a balance from being either possession based or playing direct. He acknowledges that possession based football isn’t what he prefers. His preference is fast tempo, aggressive and exciting football.

Youth system and those on loan - Rowett and Davidson are enthused with a lot of the players we have coming through, and although Rowett doesn’t want a small squad, he wants a tight and competitive squad that feel part of the team and the club. He would rather that than compared to some of the bigger clubs, who have a number of players out for no other reason than that they play for a club with a big playing staff. He would also like players who come back from loans to challenge for the first team, rather than go back into the under-23's. The process of sending them out on loan is for them to develop and get into the first team, not to come back into the youth squads when they return.

Biggest success story - One of the best moments for Gary Rowett in his coaching career was helping Matej Vydra at Derby get to the next level. He had the striker in his office nearly every day, reminded him of his quality and ability, helped his confidence grow and Vydra ended the season as top scorer in the division. Vydra wouldn’t be the archetypal Millwall player, but wouldn’t mind him being here for his goal scoring ability.

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