Contract “uncertainty” potentially a factor in Millwall’s performances – with so many of squad due to be free agents next summer


Gary Rowett reckons there is “uncertainty” in the Millwall squad due to the number of players who will be out of contract at the end of June.

The Lions activated clauses to extend the deals of striker Tom Bradshaw and midfielder Ryan Leonard until the summer of 2022 last week.

But Murray Wallace, Scott Malone, Alex Pearce, Shaun Williams, Shane Ferguson, Jiri Skalak, Matt Smith and Jon Dadi Bodvarsson all see their terms expire in less than six months time.

“I think there is quite a bit of uncertainty in the group with some players out of contract and some loan players out of contract at the end of the season,” said Lions boss Rowett.

“Maybe that has added to a bit of the nervousness in the team at times.

Tom Bradshaw

“It’s made it difficult for some of those players, I understand. But at the same time if you’re a player and out of contract at the end of the season then there is only one way to look at it – you have to perform as well as you can in order to either earn a new contract or make yourself attractive to someone else.

“There’s never been any other option for a player but to perform regularly to a high standard – that gives you a chance to further your career.

“It’s difficult for the club to be too premature in those situations because when you’ve had no income for a large period of time it isn’t that easy to make a decision just yet.”

Jon Dadi Bodvarsson

Leonard became the club’s record transfer fee paid when he signed from Sheffield United in 2019.

Bradshaw arrived from Barnsley at the same time and again is one of their most expensive outlays.

Leonard has started 17 of Millwall’s 23 Championship matches with Bradshaw netting three goals in 15 outings in the 2020-21 campaign.

“They are both players who have been really valuable to the team and to the squad,” said Rowett.

“They are good characters who want to work hard. They love being at Millwall. They were more straightforward options to take up.”

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