Liverpool loanee Liam Millar opened his Charlton Athletic account on Tuesday night.
The Canada international netted the only goal in a crucial 1-0 away win against MK Dons that lifted the Addicks into the play-off positions.
Having previously captained the under-23’s on six occasion but the 19-year-old was given the opportunity to showcase his abilities elsewhere and he picked League One.
Since his switch, he has been everpresent for Lee Bowyer’s side and has come into form for the South-East London side.
LFCTR spoke to Charlton Athletic journalist Benjy Nurick (@BenjyNurick) on his short-time so far at the Addicks.
Making an Impression
He helped spark the comeback in Charlton’s comeback with an assist as they came from two down against Swindon Town at the weekend.
The versatile attacker can play as a traditional number nine or on the left-flank.
Benjy spoke highly of the former-Fulham youngster, he told LFCTR: “Millar has been excellent so far since arriving at Charlton a few weeks ago.
“He’s started all six games since his arrival, getting better and better by the game.
During his temporary move from the Reds, he has primarily featured on the left-side.
“Against Swindon on Saturday he got his first assist of the season with a perfect chipped cross to the back post
Then scored his first and the only goal of the game against MK Dons.” He added.
Benjy noted that the forward made a crucial contribution to the game, not just with his goal as his intervention in the 88th minute stopped an almost certain MK equaliser.
‘You can’t afford to carry players and tonight everybody put a shift in. Liam Millar defending the back post like a seasoned full-back…he was outstanding tonight.Lee Bowyer on Liam Millar via Benjy Nurick.
A glistening review from his temporary boss.
Benjy also believes that the 21-year-old has become one of the crucial members of the League One side, he said:
“At this point he’s already established himself as one of the most important players in Charlton’s team and will continue to start most, if not all, their games.”
He put in a man-of-the-match performance on Tuesday night.
Conor Washington searching cross found the Canadian unmarked at the back post before he fired into the back-of-the-net.
Benjy praised the forward for his technique and execution of the finish,
“He took his goal very well, shooting low past the keeper as he came out to meet him.
He added, “Calm and confident, he didn’t rush his finish but waited for the right moment and made no mistake.
As a result of his match-winning performance, he was named in the Sky Bet League One Team of the Week.
Those with positions of power in the ranks at Charlton have a history of showing faith in youth prospects.
Now Millar has etched his way on to the goalscoring and assist charts, Benjy expects him to excel, “With Millar’s excellent start to life at the club there’s no reason to expect him to fall off.
“He should continue improving as he continues to familiarise himself with his teammates and Charlton’s system.
The MK Dons match-winner spoke to Charlton TV about his goal and touched upon improving his execution in the final third, he told Scott Minto:
“At Liverpool me and Gaz [Gary O’Neil] done a lot on getting inside the box and working on cutting inside and finishing.
“I’m really grateful for it and everything he’s done for me.”
Touching on this, Benjy eyes improvement will come for the Canadian, “As with all young wingers, the true test will be in regards to his end-product.
“He has a goal and an assist so far but needs to deliver a bit more consistently in the final third.
“But that should come with time and experience.” He concluded.
With the former U23’s captain enjoying an extended spell in the Charlton starting 11, Benjy believes a ‘new dimension’ has been added to the play-off chasing Londoners.
He explains, “Millar has given Charlton a whole new dimension to their game that has been missing since they lost winger Alfie Doughty in the autumn to a serious injury (he’s now moved to Stoke permanently).“
Following relegation from the Championship and problems off the pitch, they were forced to offload a lot of the players that helped them get to the English Second Division.
Charlton saw two of their forwards depart in Lyle Taylor and Macauley Bonne, as a result a rebuilding process began.
Transitionally there were some problems at the Valley, which their North American addition has solved, Benjy explained, “Charlton have had huge problems going from defence to attack quickly.
“Millar has been crucial in helping solve this and he has been constantly relied being relied upon as the outlet to pick up the ball in his own defensive half and carry his team up the pitch with the ball at his feet.“
Another positive of Millar’s play is his attacking intent and in his short-spell down south he has already formed a lethal partnership,
“He loves to take players on and has stuck up an excellent partnership on the left wing with Chelsea loanee Ian Maatsen. “
Room for Improvement
Despite an upturn in form over recent games, there is some room for improvement for Millar.
My one criticism of him is that he’s slightly one dimensional in that he wants to cut inside onto his right foot pretty much every time he gets the ball.
I’ve yet to see consistent ability to get to the line and cross with his left foot.
As a forward who enjoys beating his opponents and finding a team-mate or even better finding the back of the net, the football writer belives he needs to add another of side to his game.
Benjy offered his thoughts, “At League One level where he’s quicker and sharper than the vast majority of his opponents.“
“This hasn’t been a huge problem but he will need to add more variation to his game if he’s to excel at a higher level.” He believes.
It is agonisingly close for the play-off positions with just 10 points separating fifth-placed Portsmouth and Neil Critchley’s Blackpool in 14th.
The difficult opposition continues for Neil Bowyer’s men, this weekend they host Portsmouth.
Kenny Jackett’s side sit just a point ahead of Saturday’s opponents.
But it is a promising start and as a result, it’ll be greatly received by those at the academy in Kirkby.
The forward is definitely one to keep an eye out on.