Millwall midfielder Ryan Leonard: Hard graft will be worth it if I start against QPR

Ryan Leonard says that all the hard work recovering from his injury will be worth it if he starts in the first game of the season against QPR on August 7.

Leonard started in Millwall’s 4-1 defeat against Arsenal on Saturday, his second appearance in the Lions’ friendly matches since suffering ankle damage in February.

Speaking to Millwall’s club website, Leonard said: “It’s nice to be back out there, it’s been a long couple of months so it’s just nice to get some minutes and get some fitness.

“It doesn’t get much harder than that does it [playing against Arsenal]? But if you want to play and get minutes, you want to test yourself against the best and we certainly did that today.

“We’ll probably learn more from that game, than any training session or games. It was enjoyable and you want to test yourselves against the best players.

“We’re going to get chances from the high press if we can press in the right areas and when we get fans back in as well, that’s going to help us.

“We created a couple of great chances and the keeper made a really good save off Benik [Afobe] in the first half and Jake Cooper hit the post as well. It was nice for Alex Mitchell to get the goal in the second-half, so it was enjoyable all round.

“It was difficult [suffering an injury], through the summer as well it wasn’t ideal. Everyone is off having a break with their family and I was in most days. But it’s all worth it if I can get myself out there for the first game. It’s just about being mentally strong and doing all the fitness sessions.

“Thankfully today I felt alright. I didn’t feel unfit, I felt sharp and good, so that’s a credit to the physio departments, the fitness coaches that have been in with me all summer and I want to thank them for all the hard work they’ve done.

“The first game of the season is the big one, everyone wants to be in the team for that first game. We’re going to have fans there and hopefully we will have away fans there as well.

“It’s going to be a good game, a London derby to start. We’ve not had the best record at QPR in the last couple of years, so if we can put that right, it will be a great start to the season.”



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