Music man Mahlon Romeo hoping to hit the right notes as Millwall eye another FA Cup scalp against Brighton

Music man Mahlon Romeo hoping to hit the right notes as Millwall eye another FA Cup scalp against Brighton

“The style of football we play, it works to our advantage against certain teams. The way we press, the way we do things in general. There are some teams that might play higher up who might not be used to that in their league. We take them by surprise.”

It is a tried and tested method of causing FA Cup chaos. Millwall have won 31 games in the competition since 2004, which is the fifth best record in the country. And this season marks the 11th time they have reached the last eight while being outside of the top division, a record bettered only by Southampton.

“A lot of the time teams might hear about the way we play, or hear about the way things are at the Den,” says Romeo. “But maybe they won’t appreciate to what extent we actually back it up.”

These matches are formative experiences for Romeo, who is still learning his craft but can feel himself maturing as a player. On Arsenal’s books as a teenager, when he played in the same youth team as Alex Iwobi, he then endured a difficult spell with Gillingham before a move to Millwall in 2015 proved to be the proper start of his professional career.

More than 100 appearances under Harris have followed, as have 12 international caps for Antigua and Barbuda. There has been speculation of a move to the Premier League, too, and these cup matches against elite attackers are clearly important steps in his development.

“There are times when we have played Premier League teams, even at the Den, and certain individuals might stand out,” he says. “You can tell they are at a higher level, like Richarlison at Everton. I went to press him in the first half and I thought I would be able to put the brakes on in time. But by the time I had even thought about putting the brakes on, he had flicked the ball over my head. He was gone, out of there.”

Romeo has both the character and the backing to stop those moments causing any sense of inferiority against more garlanded opposition, though. After all, there will be no deference shown to Brighton from Millwall or from Romeo, a team and a individual who take great pride in marching to the beat of their own drum.

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