Liam Millar wants Preston North End to adopt Canada mentality at Leicester City

PNE will look to bounce back from Saturday’s thrashing against West Brom - when they head to Leicester on Wednesday night
Preston North End’s Liam MillarPreston North End’s Liam Millar
Preston North End’s Liam Millar

Preston North End strive to recruit the right people as well as players and Liam Millar looks as though he ticks both of those boxes.

The Canadian’s spell at Deepdale is still very much in its infancy, but he has shown the Lilywhites’ faithful what he is capable of. Millar scored a fine solo goal on debut against Plymouth Argyle and has displayed his direct dribbling ability in matches, operating in a variety of roles but predominantly at left wing-back.

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Millar’s last outing was his toughest assignment yet - individually and collectively. West Brom thrashed Preston 0-4 on Saturday afternoon, to inflict the first league defeat on Ryan Lowe’s side in their ninth match of the campaign. While the manner of the defeat was tough to take, Millar remained incredibly measured post-match and emphasised the importance of learning.

“I think, for my age, I have played a lot of games in my career,” he said. “I just try to look at everything with a bigger picture and not get so focused on everything now, now and now. I think that was one of my issues when I was younger and it used to affect me a lot, because I would think I didn’t have a great game and still be thinking about it in the next game. I think, now, I can just really move on and say to myself: ‘Okay, today wasn’t great, but what am I going to do throughout the week to make sure next week isn’t the same?’ And then it’s all better; I think it comes with experience.”

On the whole, Millar is content with his start to life in the Championship after arriving on loan from FC Basel on transfer deadline day. The division offers a whole new challenge to the Swiss Super League and one Millar is embracing. On the back of his fourth appearance, in which he had plenty of attention from Albion defenders, the Canadian knows he must prepare for more of those tests.

“I think, with the type of player I am, I’ll come across things like this,” said Millar. “I just have to try and find solutions to get out of it. The game was difficult for me, with two or three players on me every time I got on the ball. I had to pass it and move on and do whatnot. I think that is something I have to learn and get better at. When these situations come for me, how do I get out of it? How do I impact the game in another way? But, that is the whole part of me being young, trying to learn and coming here to gain the experience. It is a challenge coming to this level. They will have video analysis, see the team and if they see me as a threat they will obviously try to stop me.

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“Maybe one of my learning curves is trying to move past that. I think it is very physical, fast, demanding and also very unpredictable. We went eight games unbeaten and then lose like we did - that is just the Championship. I think I can learn step-by-step by just playing in the league. That is obviously one of the reasons I came back to England: I wanted to play in the Championship and learn. For me, it’s obviously new and the first time experiencing it, but I’ve watched the Championship for a long time. When I was coming off from the (West Brom) game I was trying to think of one positive and it was that I didn’t cramp. My body is getting used to it.

“The Championship is a different tempo to the Swiss league, so it was going to take a few games but I didn’t feel any sensation of cramp. Clearly, everything I’ve been doing has been working. I feel amazing. The lads have been amazing with me and taken me straight in. Any time I maybe don’t do something so well, they are trying to encourage me to do better. That is all you want - a good group of lads who can help you when you’re down and also push you when you are doing well. That’s all you can ask for.”

It’s Leicester City up next for PNE, who head to the King Power Arena on Wednesday night. North End have a tricky week on the road ahead, as they face the relegated Foxes and promoted Ipswich Town - the Championship’s top two placed sides. But, with Preston sitting behind them in third spot, Millar believes mentality is key for he and his team mates.

“It’s obviously a top team, with ex-Premier League players there and legends,” he said. “But I think it’s important - something that we did with Canada when we went to the World Cup was look at it like we were all on the same page and we all deserve the same amount of respect. So, we go there, all on the same page for 90 minutes and anything can happen in the game. We’ll go, do the best that we can and see what happens. We have to show the best of ourselves in that game and if we do that, we will be alright.”