Gary Rowett has made it clear he wants Abdul Abdulmalik to stay at Millwall – and reckons the young attacker has a good chance of making a first-team breakthrough.
The Lions have rejected a bid from Swansea for the 18-year-old. Abdulmalik has been offered a new contract by the South Londoners but is due to be out of contract at the start of July.
Millwall feel the Swans’ package is derisory. Abdulmalik has been one of the leading lights in their academy.
Rowett told the South London Press: “I know he is a player that the club have offered a new deal to. He’s a player that we think highly of, he has done really well in his first season at U23 level.
“He has trained with the first-team on numerous occasions. We don’t want to sell our younger players. We want them to be like Danny McNamara, Billy Mitchell, Tyler [Burey] and Hayden [Muller] – coming through and effecting our first team.
“It’s not something we want to happen, but we’re also aware that there are a lot of clubs trying to attract the best young players at other clubs – that’s just the nature of football. There are different ways to do that.
“We think he has a really good future and could challenge for our first team. It shows what good work the academy are doing. What you can’t change is sometimes a young agent trying to convince a young player that suddenly there is something better out there.
“We’ll continue to keep working hard, with all these players, to make them see their best opportunity of first-team football is here at Millwall. We’ve proved that.
“I would love to see Abdul stay at the club.
“He’s got a little bit of work to do, to take that next step. But in the FA Youth Cup run he got some fabulous goals and there was some great footwork around the box. We’ve watched a lot of him and monitored his progress. He has the ability to produce at first-team level, when that is will be down to the player and how quickly he develops.
“We want to have that pathway open. If a player decides they don’t want to stay and it comes down to compensation then you can’t do anything about it.
“John [Berylson], the owner, certainly wants to see the work our academy is doing come to fruition in our first-team, not someone else’s first team.”
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