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Smith: “I’m ready to hit the ground running”

Striker expresses his delight at securing Millwall move

1 July 2019

Matt Smith says he is eager to deliver for the club, manager and fans after completing his move to Millwall on Monday.

The imposing striker has been recruited by Neil Harris from Queens Park Rangers for an undisclosed fee and is pleased and relieved to have secured his move.

“I’m absolutely delighted to be here now,” Smith said to millwallfc.co.uk.

“It’s been a process over the course of the off-season, and I’m ready to hit the ground running.”

A long-time target for The Lions, Smith says he is already underway in building his fitness levels ahead of the club’s pre-season schedule, and has explained how Harris’ faith in his ability will enable him to play with confidence.

“Being honest, it can be a little unsettling for a player when discussions are ongoing, but I’ve just tried to be as professional as possible and I had a week of training at QPR to get my fitness going.

“That was beneficial for me, and now I’m heading into week two of pre-season with Millwall and it’s fantastic.

“I think any player will tell you that to come into an environment where the manager has a lot of faith and support in you will give you the utmost confidence. That was probably the biggest pull factor – I have a lot of respect for the gaffer and for what he’s done, especially here at Millwall. I’ll certainly look to learn a lot from him and repay his faith in me.”

Another appealing factor for 30-year-old Smith in joining Millwall he claims is style of play, and the forward is fully confident of delivering in a Lions shirt.

“From a footballing perspective, for me to be here seems like a really good fit, and all the tools are here for me to flourish,” he added.

“I’ll be taking the opportunity with both hands and will give my all for the side. I always play with my heart on my sleeve and give everything, and I think I have very obvious strengths and limitations.

“Being here I believe will really suit me, and hopefully I will score goals, contribute and really impact the side. I can’t wait to get stuck in on the training ground – roll on 3rd August for when the season starts.”

Smith also talks of how he can set an example to and help younger players in the squad, along with giving everything for the Millwall supporters.

“I turned 30 in June – I’m a senior pro now,” the striker continued. “I’ll always do my best to help the younger lads, put an arm around them when necessary and lead by example. From the outside looking in, it seems like we have a very honest bunch of lads here and I’m looking forward to being part of that environment.

“Whatever knowledge I’ve picked up from The Championship in recent years I will always try and help impart onto my teammates, and hopefully we can have a really successful season.

“I think any team will admit that they don’t enjoy coming to play away here. It’s intimidating for players from the opposition, but I’m looking forward to being on the other side of that now and having the support of the fans. Hopefully I can make a good impression and become a fans’ favourite so to speak, but that starts with hard work from my end.”

Having spent several years at Championship level, Smith has crossed paths with several of his new teammates – and speaks of his excitement to integrate into the squad over the coming days and weeks.

“I do know Hutch [Shaun Hutchinson] from my time at Fulham, as well as Frankie [Fielding] from Bristol City and James Meredith from when we lived in Yorkshire in the past. I’ve had plenty of good battles in the past with players like Jake Cooper, too. I’m sure there’ll be a lot of friendly faces who will make me feel welcome quickly.”

“I know how important team bonding is over the pre-season period. Certainly with the Portugal training camp, you’re going to be in close-quarters with the lads over a few days. It’s hard work, and any footballer will tell you that pre-season isn’t their most enjoyable part of the year, but it’s what is needed to give you that base level fitness going into what can be a long, physically gruelling campaign.

“It’s up to us to put the graft in, and I like to think that by the latter end of the season we will be reaping the rewards of that.”

The full interview with Smith can be viewed on iFollow.


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