Millwall boss makes stance clear on Portsmouth triallist also linked with Arsenal, Celtic, Rangers and Swansea

Gary Rowett has stressed that he would love Pompey triallist Abdul Abdulmalik to put pen to paper on a new deal at Millwall.

Saturday, 3rd July 2021, 9:00 am

Reports emerged that the striker is one of several free agents who are training with Danny Cowley's side during the first week of pre-season.

Abdulmalik, 18, has yet to make his senior bow for the Lions but has been offered his first professional deal.

The teenager helped Millwall s under-18s reach the quarter-finals of the FA Youth Cup last season, while he was also a regular for their under-23s.

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Swansea have reportedly had a bid turned down for Abdulmalik and he's also been linked with Premier League heavyweights Arsenal along with Scottish giants Celtic and Rangers.

Abdulmalik is highly regarded at the Den, with Rowett and owner John Berylson keen to develop a pathway for academy products to make their way into the first team.

And the Millwall boss is convinced Abdulmalik can progress into his Championship side if he extends his stay.

Speaking to the South London Press last month, Rowett said: ‘I know he is a player that the club have offered a new deal to. He’s a player that we think highly of, he has done really well in his first season at under-23 level.

Millwall manager Gary Rowett. Picture: Jacques Feeney/Getty Images

‘He has trained with the first team on numerous occasions. We don’t want to sell our younger players. We want them to be like Danny McNamara, Billy Mitchell, Tyler (Burey) and Hayden (Muller) – coming through and

affecting our first team.

‘It’s not something we want to happen, but we’re also aware that there are a lot of clubs trying to attract the best young players at other clubs – that’s just the nature of football. There are different ways to do that.

‘We think he has a really good future and could challenge for our first team. It shows what good work the academy are doing. What you can’t change is sometimes a young agent trying to convince a young player that suddenly there is something better out there.

‘We’ll continue to keep working hard, with all these players, to make them see their best opportunity of first-team football is here at Millwall. We’ve proved that.

‘I would love to see Abdul stay at the club. He’s got a little bit of work to do, to take that next step.

‘But in the FA Youth Cup run he got some fabulous goals and there was some great footwork around the box. We’ve watched a lot of him and monitored his progress. He has the ability to produce at first-team level, when that is will be down to the player and how quickly he develops.

‘We want to have that pathway open. If a player decides they don’t want to stay and it comes down to compensation then you can’t do anything about it.

‘John, the owner, certainly wants to see the work our academy is doing come to fruition in our first-team, not someone else’s first team.’

Pompey would have to pay a compensation fee if they were to sign Abdulmalik as he is under the age of 24.