Tottenham’s Japh Tanganga has grown in confidence and had character change due to Millwall loan

Millwall head coach Neil Harris reckons that Japhet Tanganga has grown in confidence since making a loan move from Tottenham.

The 24-year-old has scored twice in his last four matches since Harris took over control of team affairs following Joe Edwards’ dismissal last month.

Tanganga has played 50 first-team games for Spurs but had not opened his senior scoring account before dropping temporarily into the Championship.

He headed the late winner for the Lions as they beat Birmingham City 1-0 on Saturday.

Asked if it is a new side to Tanganga’s game, Harris said: “It needs to be, doesn’t it? It needs to be in the modern game.

“If you’re going to be at a football club like Millwall it is not just about the beautiful game of passing the football as a centre-half anymore. You still have to be able to defend one-v-one – defend your duels. And when centre-halves are asked to go into the opponent’s penalty area for 12 set-plays a game then you have got to be prepared to attack the ball, especially at a football club like this.

“Japh has done excellent.”

Harris was asked if Tottenham boss Ange Postecoglou had supplied any feedback about what the Lions legend was demanding of Tanganga.

He said: “At the moment I’m more interested in what I think about Japh! The reason players come on loan is because they need different experience or they need minutes.

“We’ve got players on loan from clubs and once they come to us it is our responsibility to try and develop and progress them as players.

“Japh is a very talented footballer and a very good one-v-one defender but if you come to Millwall you come for different reasons – everyone knows that, no-one is stupid in the game.

“If you come and sometimes you are not going to dominate the ball you have to be backs to the walls and be asked a lot of questions. If you are not prepared to do that as a player then don’t come to this football club. Japh is one, since I’ve walked in the building, has grown in personality over the last three weeks already. I have seen his character change and his confidence.

“He spoke at half-time the other day and I was really delighted with it. The lads have said that is the first time they’ve heard him speak openly, in front of the group with passion.

“If I can help him develop in both penalty areas and give him an experience over the coming months that develops him as a man, as well as doing that as a player then Japh will be happy and I’m sure Spurs will be as well.”

Tanganga had spent the first half of the campaign on loan at Augsburg but did not make a competitive appearance for the Bundesliga club.

“That’s down to Japh to comment on that – I’m not going to put words into his mouth,” said Harris. “That is our career, isn’t it? That’s football. You have your ups and downs. You are on a pathway and then there is a change of manager and that disappears. Japh goes to Germany, change of manager and then he isn’t in the team.

“He comes here, Joe leaves and I walk in – he’s probably thinking ‘how many times is this going to happen to me?’ I’m pleased I put my faith in Japh and picked him first game, because he has been outstanding.”

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