BY RICHARD CAWLEY
George Long has spelled out that he hasn’t joined Millwall to just play the role of back-up to Bartosz Bialkowski.
The 27-year-old became the Lions’ first signing of the summer. The Sheffield-born goalkeeper will officially join when his Hull City contract expires on July 1.
Long is facing a stiff challenge for regular football with Bialkowski being voted Player of the Season by Lions fans in the two seasons since he arrived from Ipswich Town.
“I know that Bart has done really well over the last couple of years but I always back myself wherever I go to impress and force myself into the team,” said Long.
“I know that football can change at the drop of a hat and I’m always ready. I’ve not come to sit on the bench or be happy doing that.
“I want to be pushing and playing and I’ve no doubt I will get that opportunity at some point because I know my quality will show in training.
“I definitely feel I’ve got my peak years ahead of me. I’ve already played a lot of games – around 250 – so I have that experience behind me.
“I’m relishing going into a Championship season and I feel I’ve got all the tools to get in the team and do well for Millwall. My ambition is still to play in the Premier League and I believe I’m good enough. It’s just about getting out there and doing it now.”
Long made eight appearances for Hull last season as they won the League One title. He kept four clean sheets before his run in the side – running from January 1 to the start of February – was ended.
“It was difficult because I felt I was doing well and should stay in the team,” said Long. “I had kept 50 per cent clean sheets, which is a great return. But ultimately it is out of your hands if a manager decides to make a change.
“It was great for the club to get back in the Championship at the first attempt but for me it wasn’t the season I had in mind.
“I got in the team and I was up for League One Player of the Month. So to then find myself back out of the side, for no real reason, was frustrating at times.”
Long has revealed he first heard of Millwall’s interest towards the end of the 2020-21 campaign. He added: “To get it done and signed so early is fantastic for me and for the club.
“These things can carry through right up to the deadline and that isn’t ideal for a player. I’m settled and know where I’m going to be for next year.
“I had a few options but Millwall was definitely top of the list. I spoke to the manager and he told me the ambition, both for himself and the team.
“Hull were talking about offering me a new contract but not as much as the option year they had. I probably wanted a fresh start, to go somewhere else and experience another city.”
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