June 21, 2024

Gary Rowett is confident that Ryan Leonard can offer “an awful lot” after the Millwall midfielder agreed to extend his contract.

The 31-year-old, who can also play at right wing-back and as part of a three-man central defence, had been due to be a free agent at the end of this month.

But Millwall tabled new terms and Leonard was due in yesterday to put pen to paper.

The former Southend and Sheffield United player has been influential when available but injuries have partially hampered recent campaigns.

Leonard made 18 appearances in all competitions in the season just completed. He signed for the Lions in August 2018.

“I’m really pleased that Lenny is staying,” Millwall boss Gary Rowett told the South London Press. “He is a really versatile player. When he was available last season he showed he definitely made a difference to the team in multiple positions.

“It was always a very easy one but, of course, we had to take into account he’s been very unfortunate and not been as available as he would have liked and we would have liked. But, at the same time, he is a good character and a popular player.

“He can offer us an awful lot. The challenge next season is trying to keep Lenny out there and give him a season that he needs – he’s been really unlucky because he has had lots of different little things, no one thing.

“We have to look at everything (to make him more available), like perhaps making sure that everything he is doing is all the time and not just when he is out injured.

“The medical team and performance team do an awful lot of good work on individual rehab and individual programmes.

“But it’s something we’ll always look at  because when you have players who have missed a lot of game time and not been available for quite a few matches it puts a massive pressure on the squad and on other players.

“We have to look, can we keep players available for longer? And we’ve got a few like that, the likes of Hutchy (Shaun Hutchinson) has been unavailable in certain periods.

“There is nothing more frustrating for a player – I’ve been in that same position. And it’s also frustrating for a manager – you want all your best options available all of the time.

“There is also a massive slice of fortune in staying out there and available.”


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