‘He’s showed his quality and versatility’ – Millwall player earns big praise from manager

Gary Rowett heaped praise on Ryan Leonard after the former Millwall defender put in a man-of-the-match display at West Brom on Saturday afternoon.
The Lions faced a second half barrage from the Baggies but Leonard, alongside Jake Cooper and Murray Wallace, defended superbly to ensure that Millwall left with a point and a clean sheet – their second of the week after a 3-0 win over Rotherham last Wednesday.
Leonard, not a defender by trade, has slotted into that role as injuries have taken hold in the Millwall squad.
“When you think of Lenny he’s not a centre-half, really, ” said Rowett. “He’s a centre-half in a three – but you wouldn’t normally play him as a centre-half in a two. He just showed his versatility and shows his quality as well. He’s probably one of the players where you look at him and you go ‘you can play anyone against him and I think he can deal with it’.
“He can deal with a bit of strength, he can deal with a bit of physicality and he can deal with mobility.
“I don’t think I’ve ever seen Lenny get run one v one and you always feel very comfortable in space with him, whereas sometimes you’re trying to protect space around players occasionally just because of the nature of the game. So yeah, his performance was excellent – he won us a lot of fouls, he nicked a lot of balls, he stopped a lot of potential attacks and then defended the box when he needed to.”
Millwall struggled to deal with the threat of the home side in the second period. They twice hit the crossbar through Alex Mowatt and Brandon Thomas-Asante. The Baggies dominated the second period with an xG of 1.48 compared to Millwall’s 0.02. Carlos Corbaran’s side also had more shots (11), compared to Millwall’s (1) and 69 per cent possession – despite all that they failed to find the net.
Rowett was happy with the fact his team stood up to the challenge.
“I just felt second half as a team we just needed to show a little bit more composure [as we did] first half and just make a few passes to get us up the pitch and we just didn’t really have as many attacks as we would like,” he said. “But, again, sometimes it’s like that and you’ve got to dig in and make sure you get a clean sheet and we certainly did that as a team.”

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