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Robbo reviews first year back at The Den

The former captain on Academy prospects and more...

26 March 2020

The future is bright at Millwall Football Club - with Paul Robinson praising a "really good group" of Under 23s in his first year back in SE16.

The 38-year-old, who made 361 appearances for The Lions and scored 23 goals between 2002-2014, came back to the set-up in a coaching capacity last summer, taking assistant charge of the Under 23s under Kevin Nugent.

The duo have led a talented group to the brink of a Play-Off place in the Professional Development League, with the young Lions currently two places and three points behind Southern Section leaders Watford with two games in hand.

The former Play-Off winning captain spoke of his enjoyment in "transitioning" at Millwall, and went on to express his pride at prospects such as Billy Mitchell and James Brown making the step up to first-team football whilst under his stewardship.

"It's been great to be back and around the club again, although a bit strange to be the new person in a place I am so familiar with," Robinson told millwallfc.co.uk. "I've had a good season of learning in transitioning to the other side."

After making his debut in the final Sky Bet Championship fixture of 2018/19 at Wigan Athletic, Mitchell has featured five times for Millwall this season, most notably in the Carabao Cup and FA Cup.

Brown, meanwhile, completed his first full 90 minutes in a Millwall shirt in the Emirates FA Cup Fourth Round defeat to Sheffield United - a game which Mitchell also played in.

"Billy is everything you want in a young player," added Robbo. "He turns up for work every day eager to work hard and learn. He wants to be better and better. He gets the club and he wants to play for them and represent them. His attitude and professionalism will take him a long way.

"Browny has done well when he has stepped in, especially in the FA Cup game against Sheffield United. He and Billy are with the first-team most days. James has had an injury which has held him back a little bit, but both are impressing the management team. He has earned a new deal and has the opportunity to progress in his career now."

Delve deeper into the Under 23s and names such as Jesse Debrah, Danny McNamara, Junior Tiensia and Isaac Olaofe have enjoyed loan football, whether that be at League clubs or in non-League. 

Another youngster impressing each and every week is George Alexander - and the former Portsmouth man backed the striker to have "every opportunity" to follow in the footsteps of his father, Gary.

"We have a really good group this year. They've been doing well in the League and would be top of it had they been able to win their current games in hand. That's testament to the lads and their abilities. We've put a few out on loan recently because we feel that its vitally important to go out and play men's football. Hopefully we can see the benefit of that in the future.

"George has every opportunity to [follow in the footsteps of his Dad], he has that natural ability to find the goal. He can be quiet in games but then pops up with a goal, which is a valuable asset to have. He has the potential and I'm sure he will be getting good advice from Gary, too."

With the Coronavirus pandemic currently sweeping aside all football-related activities in the UK, alongside Nugent and the Academy fitness staff, Robinson is making sure the squad keep on their toes during the suspension of the game.

"We're all working together in this difficult period to try and maximise the players and make sure they're taking advantage of it. They can use the time to work on certain weaknesses that will help their game moving forward. They're well-monitored and looked after and we're looking to help the lads progress in their own careers as we can't do it on the training pitch. We're trying to cover all bases."


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