IF YOU can’t beat them, sign them – and few were more chuffed to see Kenneth Zohore walk into The Den than defender Murray Wallace.
Millwall bagged the Danish striker on loan from West Brom until January with a cameo debut coming in the midweek victory over Luton this month.
Signing in the region of £8m for the Baggies last July, Zohore’s value is not lost on Wallace – even if his arrival means a few more headaches in training.
“It’s always brilliant to bring in players such as Kenneth Zohore – he’s always been a real handful in matches, so I’m delighted to not be playing against him this season,” said Wallace, 27.
“It’s great that he’s decided to come to Millwall, he’s a great player and when he gets more minutes under his belt, we’ll be able to see that.
“He’s a strong lad, powerful, good with his feet as well – I’m just glad I’m not having to come up against him in games. I get it in training instead!
“Hopefully that will make me a better player, he’s a great one to add to the team.”
Zohore’s arrival is a coup but Wallace knows a successful Championship campaign is not built on one player alone.
However, with Irish striker Troy Parrott, 18, also a new loanee and 24-year-old midfielder Mason Bennett signing from Derby, suddenly the pieces seem to be coming together in south-east London.
Three consecutive victories have taken Millwall into the top four ahead of this weekend – their highest position since September 2016 – but, akin to manager Gary Rowett, former Scotland U21 international Wallace isn’t looking closely at the table just yet.
“We’ve got in the right players and we’ve got a strong squad, probably the best squad depth we’ve had since I’ve been here,” said Wallace, who signed in June 2018.
“If players have got a knock, we’ve got really good players to come in and replace them and with such a busy schedule this season, we’re going to have to use all the squad throughout.
“It’s a great feeling currently. We’re at a really early point in the season, it’s nice to know where you are, high up in the table, but we can’t start getting excited or carried away at the moment.
“We’ve just got to get to the next game and back it up with another good performance.
“You always dream of what could be, especially at the start of a season when everyone starts level. You wouldn’t be a footballer if you weren’t aiming as high as possible.”
Such is the Lions’ strength in depth, Wallace was limited to mostly substitute appearances in the opening throes of the season.
Impressing in victories against Wycombe and Luton has helped his cause but the defender knows this bizarre season is all about playing the long game – both personally and as a team.
He added: “We’ve got that work ethic in this team, we’re so hard to break down and we’ve got a really strong defensive unit, players to bring on as well to secure things.
“We’ll need to use the full squad. With games coming thick and fast and with a lot of demand on the players, not everyone will be 100 per cent right. I would have liked to have played every game – that’s just me.
“We’ve had a good few cup results, we’ve started the season strongly and it’s nice to have been back in for the past few games.
“It’s disappointing when you’re not starting but it’s so competitive in this changing room, every player is going to be upset when they don’t get the nod but you’ve got to look at the bigger picture.”