Millwall boss impressed by Romain Esse performance against Leicester – and talks about Ryan Longman confidence-booster

Millwall teenager Romain Esse has been given the thumbs up for his performance in Tuesday’s 1-0 victory over Leicester City.

The 18-year-old midfielder was brought on for George Honeyman early in the second half when a shoulder injury forced off the former Sunderland and Hull City player.

Esse had only played four minutes of first-team football prior to that since a 70-minute runout against Sheffield Wednesday at The Den on February 17.

The England U19 international has made 24 appearances in all competitions this season – 22 of those in the Championship.

His combined minutes for the campaign are 678.

“I just felt at the time that the game was very tight,” Millwall head coach Neil Harris told the South London Press. “Our shape was outstanding – very, very impressive to nullify Leicester for as long as we did without them even having a shot on goal.

“I felt there was an opportunity for us to carry the ball a little bit better when we got it – to open up avenues for us to get up the pitch with a little better quality. I thought Romain would bring that.

“Yes, it was a big call to put an 18-year-old on, who hasn’t played a lot of senior football on against what is arguably a Premier League outfit, in the heat of the battle where we are at the moment.

“It was my gut instinct to put Romain on ahead of someone a little more experienced.

“Romain handled it very well. His performance was good but his application was what you expect from a Millwall player, but also his level-headedness and calmness was what was desired in key moments.”

Ryan Longman’s goal-of-the-season contender settled the contest against Leicester.

The Hull City loanee has come in for criticism from some sections of the Lions fanbase.

Longman, 23, has scored three times in 31 outings for Millwall since arriving at the start of the season.

“That will do Ryan’s confidence the world of good,” said Harris. “Ryan is a hard-working wide player and there isn’t anybody who watches our performances and doesn’t appreciate Ryan for the amount of effort and athleticism he brings to the team.

“Ryan’s probably slightly disappointed with his own performances in the sense of a little bit of a lack of quality in the final third.

“I’m so pleased for him that he has finally got the reward that his endeavours and application have deserved.

“That is a moment of quality he is capable of and has produced over the years at Brighton and Hull City. He put in two fantastic balls at Huddersfield that should’ve led to goals – we didn’t put them in the back of the net.

“I’m delighted for him as an individual. The nature of the beast is when things don’t go too well we get questioned in our profession – however harsh it may seem – but you have to take the plaudits and application when it comes.

“Ryan had that quality moment to win a game of football at that level that the game needed – it is a pat on the back for him.”

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