Jed Wallace believes the signings of Benik Afobe and George Saville are “a statement of intent” by Millwall.
Striker Afobe, 28, is on a season-long loan from Stoke City. Saville signed up for a third spell with the Lions on a permanent basis, at just a fraction of the £7.5million that Middlesbrough paid to prise him away from SE16 in 2018.
Winger Wallace was on Wolves’ books while Afobe was there. The former Arsenal forward scored 22 goals in 46 Championship games.
“Benik gave me a ring [before signing for Millwall] and I was quick to try and get him in the door because I know what he adds,” Wallace told the South London Press. “For the six months I played with him at Wolves he is probably the best player I’ve seen at Championship level. I don’t want to talk about it too much, but he has had a difficult time – on and off the pitch. We love an underdog and he’s probably at the stage of his career where he has been written off a little bit off the back of a couple of injuries and some bad luck.
“But I don’t care what anyone says, when Benik is playing at the top of his confidence and form he is the one of the best players in this division going forward.
“It’s a huge sign of intent from the club. Benik loves the gaffer, which was a huge factor in him coming.
“He’s a London boy. He has a young family. It’s those little things that make the difference – when you look in the stand and you’ve got 10 of your family there, because it is not four hours away or he’s playing in Turkey.
“It’s just a good fit for Benik. The lads were buzzing when he signed because we know he is probably the frontman that we’ve sometimes needed, who has that proven quality at this level. If we can get that out of him he will be a huge signing for us. If we can keep him fit and he can enjoy his football – with the likes of Smudge [Matt Smith] to make an impact – we certainly look strong going forward. We probably need to find another 25 goals to get in the play-offs. Having two people who can certainly score at this level can only help.”
The same also applies to Saville. The midfielder, 28, scored 10 times in 44 league appearances in his last campaign with Millwall.
“It’s great to have Sav back, he is very popular,” said Wallace. “But he’s also got that player quality – we certainly struggled for goals and Sav is someone who always gets in the box and on the end of things.
“They might not be the prettiest of goals all the time but he lands on things. We need to add goals all over the pitch but we really, really lacked goals in the midfield last season. Sav is good competition for the likes of Thommo [Ben Thompson], Lenny [Ryan Leonard] and Billy [Mitchell]. We’ve got a lot of people in there and only two or three places available.
“We’ve got 23, 24 players at the moment in the squad. We look like we’ve got more depth than I’ve seen at Millwall before.”
Wallace has hit 10 goals in each of his last two seasons.
“My target is always double figures. Sometimes that is difficult, because we’re not always the most attacking team in the world.
“I was happy with last season. I got a lot more chances, and that was what I wanted to do. Last season I could easily have got 15 goals.
“If I score four and we finish fifth then I’ll be over the moon. I’d rather do that than I score 13 and we finish 14th. The target is always us improving as a team. If we’re playing well then hopefully that means I’m playing well.
“The target is to be as consistent as I can and I really feel over the last two years I’ve added that to my game. I need to keep that going.”
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