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Gary Rowett not worried about Jed Wallace’s commitment to Millwall

Queens Park Rangers v Millwall – Sky Bet Championship – Kiyan Prince Foundation Stadium
(Image credit: Dominic Lipinski)

Millwall boss Gary Rowett believes Jed Wallace proved his commitment to the club with his performance and goal celebration against QPR.

The Lions began their Sky Bet Championship season with a 1-1 draw in west London, where Wallace ran to the opposite end of the pitch to celebrate in front of the away fans after firing in the opening goal.

Rob Dickie’s brilliant strike hauled Rangers level just after the half-hour mark.

Wallace has entered the final year of his contract and Millwall have so far been unable to tie him to a new deal.

Rowett was reluctant to comment on the issue but insisted Wallace would not be perturbed by the uncertainty over his future.

He said: “There’s no change to the situation. Any comment I make will be flipped into a number of stories. He’s committed, as you saw with the celebration.

“It was nice for him to show that his situation at the moment certainly won’t affect him.

“He wants to play well for the club and wants to play well for the fans. He’ll certainly relish those moments and is a big-game player.

“It was a great goal and I thought he performed really well, particularly in the first half.”

Millwall were on top until centre-back Dickie’s 30-yard thunderbolt but Rowett felt it was Stefan Johansen’s growing influence which proved to be the Lions’ undoing.

“Johansen maybe just started to dictate the game a little bit,” he said. “We needed to get closer and disrupt that flow that he started to produce for QPR.

“We certainly tried to but I felt we ran out of energy when we most needed it.

“But I’m not displeased. We navigated the game well and defended well. I think we’ll get better as the games go on.”

QPR boss Mark Warburton felt his team were given a reminder of how demanding the Championship can be.

Following an excellent second half of last season and the signings of the likes of Johansen and Charlie Austin, both of whom made a big impact while on loan, optimism among Rangers fans has been high.

A pre-season win over Manchester United added to the positivity but the home side struggled to settle during a frenetic opening to the match.

Warburton said: “We started slowly, they were the better team and deserved the lead.

“We knew what was coming – they get the ball forward quickly and are dangerous with their physicality.

“We didn’t deal with it well in the first 15 minutes. But when we started to play towards the end of the first half we hurt them.

“We have to recognise that that’s the Championship out there. We had great games against Man U and Leicester and they’re lovely to have, but that’s the Championship today and you’ve got to deal with all aspects of it.

“I think both teams tired towards the end. It’s the first game and a big occasion with an intense atmosphere. Both teams looked drained in the last 10 minutes.”

Dickie was QPR’s player of the year last season and enhanced his growing reputation with another excellent display.

“Rob was very, very good. I was very impressed with Rob,” Warburton said.

“He controlled the ball very well and took responsibility to go in tight and mark, and aerially I thought he was strong right to the end of the game.”