BY RICHARD CAWLEY
Aiden O’Brien’s exit from Millwall was confirmed this week – and Gary Alexander reckons the Republic of Ireland international will have plenty of clubs jostling for his signature.
The 26-year-old made just eight Championship starts for the Lions this season.
And Millwall boss Gary Rowett has opted not to offer new terms to O’Brien, who is a free agent at the end of this month.
But former Lions striker Alexander is confident that O’Brien – who scored 44 goals in 226 appearances for the SE16 outfit – will be in demand.
“He’s not going to struggle for options,” said Alexander. “He probably hasn’t played and started as many games as he’d have liked in his time at the club, but when he has been called upon he has scored some important goals and some quality goals.
“It is probably time for him to move on and a fresh challenge. Sometimes that is for the best.
“But he is a quality footballer who if he finds the right club I’m sure it will be profitable for both parties.
“I’ve been in that situation [where you move on]. Sometimes a manager comes in and they have a different style of play. Maybe Gary doesn’t see Aiden fitting into that. He’ll have his plans to bring players in and to do that you have to get players out. You can’t just keep everyone happy.
“Hopefully Aiden will crack on. He’s had a tremendous Millwall career.
“He was a great help to George [Alexander’s son who is on the Lions’ books], always giving him good advice.”
Islington-born O’Brien signed his first professional deal with Millwall in 2010. He made his debut in a 5-0 League Cup defeat at Wolves in September 2011. He netted 15 times in the 2016-17 campaign as the Lions won promotion from League One via the play-offs.
“This brings great sadness and it is hard for me to take in, especially since I started here at 15,” said O’Brien in a Twitter post.
“I have thoroughly enjoyed my time, with such a supportive fanbase and excellent community right from the beginning. The fans and The Den have been the life of my career, and we have celebrated many times, particularly the club’s promotion.
“I have been able to make the most of so many opportunities and meet some amazing people along the way. The club and the staff have been by my side throughout, and seen me at both my highs and lows.
“I cannot thank you enough for the experience over these past 12 years, they have meant so much to me as a player.
“I hope one day our paths cross again. Once a Lion, always a Lion. I will always love my Millwall family.”
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