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Harris: “Matt’s a proven Championship goalscorer”

Manager discusses the strengths of Matt Smith after securing third summer signing

1 July 2019

Neil Harris has discussed the attributes Matt Smith will bring to Millwall following his move across London to The Den on Monday.

The 30-year-old striker has completed his move to SE16 and becomes Harris’ third recruit of the summer.

“Matt is a player we’ve chased for a long time, someone we’ve been linked with even before my reign,” the manager said when speaking to millwallfc.co.uk.

“The reason the club has been attracted to him for some time is his style of play, he’s about the best there is out there at this level at attacking the ball aerially.

“He’s a big man at 6’6’’ who thrives off balls into the box, and you know he’s a handful when you’ve got players telling you he’s the toughest aerial opponent they’ve played against.”

Harris explains the various options Smith gives the squad, and claims he intends to utilise the commanding forward as part of numerous playing styles.

“What’s also important is that he’s a clever player. He might not have the pace of the likes of Jed Wallace, but he excels in the departments we’re looking for from him, he’s good with the ball at his feet and can link the play.

“Matt gives us an option with Steve Morison leaving, and with question marks over other players’ futures, so he’s important for us.

“It’s not the case whatsoever that now we’re just going to lump the ball up to Matt. We want to play as well – we showed that in patches last season – and we spoke openly about system changes. It’s important to have different varieties of personnel, and Matt certainly gives us that. He gives us the option to move the ball forward and play around second balls, and to deliver crosses into the box with his presence.”

As Smith joins Alex Pearce and Frank Fielding as part of The Lions’ incomings, the boss has expressed his delight to bring in several seasoned players at this level.

“The nature of the window in The Championship won’t change. Regarding ourselves, we’ve paid what is in my opinion a sensible fee for Matt, and we’re still looking to bring more players in.

“Matt’s a proven Championship goalscorer, and the three players we’ve brought in so far represent a spine of experience. Not only have they all played 200-300 games at this level, they’re also top pros.

“With some of the younger players working their way into the team, they need guidance from excellent pros, and Matt – alongside Alex Pearce and Frank Fielding – certainly provides that.”

Harris finally touches on the current climate of Millwall in the transfer market, and confirms he is seeking possible further new faces before the squad’s Portuguese training camp beginning on 12th July.

“Ideally, we do want our new players in Portugal with the group, as we’re nailing down our style of play and what we expect from individuals with and without the ball.

“We still have a period of time before we go to Portugal. We’re still active in the market, still bid for players and are trying to agree personal terms with players, which is important but not always easy to get over the line.

“Matt’s another good piece of the jigsaw for us and we’re delighted to bring him into the group.”


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