[email protected]dia.co.uk Mahlon Romeo signed a new long-term contract with Millwall yesterday – with manager Gary Rowett admitting his satisfaction at securing a number of key players on extended terms.
Right-back Romeo, 24, has played 172 matches for the Lions since arriving in July 2015 after being released by Gillingham.
Millwall also recently negotiated a fresh deal for centre-back Shaun Hutchinson as well as experienced midfielder Shaun Williams agreeing to stay until the summer of 2021.
The Championship side also confirmed on Monday that teenage midfielder Billy Mitchell, 18, has also put pen to paper.
Rowett said: “In January we felt we couldn’t do huge amounts [in the window] – but part of the importance was to keep some players in the building, to make sure they are here next season.
“The challenge at a club like Millwall is that you want to improve every window but you’ve also got to think about securing your own players who have done well and performed well.
“We’ve got a really good core for next season, a young core, and I’m certainly going to have more clarity on what we need in the summer and how I think we can move forward.
“There is a lot of football to play yet this season but we have to have some long-term planning as well. You can’t think we’ll throw everything at trying to get top six this year – there is a balance.
“You want to be a team that if you can’t get out of the Championship quickly then you are challenging every season, not ups and downs so that you are up there one year and then down the bottom. We want to be a strong Championship side and signing some players and keeping some players is a step towards doing that.”
Rowett has called for Romeo to produce a little extra in the attacking third.
“He links well with Jed [Wallace] and that has been our stronger attacking side,” said the Millwall boss. “Mahlon gets into some brilliant positions but he just needs to add more assists, not necessarily goals, because an attacking full-back needs that now.
“Sometimes as a full-back you can’t score them, all you can do is set up and try and get people in good areas. He has been one of our most consistent players.
“He has started really well this season under us and hopefully he can continue to improve and get better and better. He is still a young player, whilst he has already got good experience.”
Mitchell’s contract was due to run out at the end of June but the midfielder – from a Lions-supporting family – had always made it clear his target was to stay on.
Millwall do not disclose the length of deals but the South London Press understands it is long term.
“With a good pre-season he could challenge,” said Rowett. “I don’t see any reason why he can’t play the type of role that Jayson Molumby has played this season.
“He is all-energy and wants to play on the front foot.
“He has real desire and to go to the next level he’s got to improve his range of passing, it’s something I’ve spoken to him about.
“I think Billy has got a really big future, I really like him.
“He has been really good in training and deserved a new deal.”
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