Former Sheffield United player proves a point about his character as Millwall win
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The goalkeeper, who made 123 appearances for the visitors after graduating from their youth programme, produced several important saves during Saturday’s match in south London’ most notably to deny Daniel Jebbison at the beginning of the second period.
Although Long was at fault for the first of the visitors’ two strikes - seemingly misjudging the flight of Tommy Doyle’s free-kick before allowing it to spiral over the line - he quickly recovered his poise to help Millwall record a win which not only strengthened their play-off credentials but also blew the race for automatic promotion from the Championship wide open.
Rowett, the Millwall manager, said: “George might arguably have been a little disappointed with the first one. But he showed great personality to get over that and make some really decisive interventions. That tells you the type of person he is. Excellent.”
Although Tom Bradshaw was Millwall’s main protagonist, completing his hat-trick with only two minutes of normal time remaining after James McAtee had threatened to earn United at least a point, Long made a crucial contribution to their success. Regarded as being mentally fragile at the beginning of his career, the 29-year-old’s ability to ignore what could have been a costly error confirmed he now possesses the personality to compliment his undoubted ability.
“George did really well and he had to, because they’re a really good side,” Rowett said. “There were periods of the game when it was tough, as you’d expect and he helped us come through those.”