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IN THE LIONS' DEN

Posted on 23 February 2006  - 12:00

Phil Ifil believes his game is developing well as he learns 'the hard way' on loan in a relegation scrap with Millwall.

Phil Ifil believes his game is developing well as he learns 'the hard way' on loan in a relegation scrap with Millwall.

The 19-year-old is in his second loan spell at the New Den this season. He played 13 times in the first between August and December, although a groin injury meant he didn’t feature after November 29.

After returning to Spurs Lodge for treatment, the England youth international headed back to south London after hooking up on a second loan spell for the rest of the season.

He has returned to the side – now managed by former Spur David Tuttle – and took his appearances to 17 for the Lions having switched from full-back to right midfield for Saturday’s 1-1 draw against Crystal Palace in the Championship.

"It’s been a good season for me," said Phil. "This has been my first loan experience and playing first team football has made me stronger and helped develop my game more. I’m really enjoying it.

"For me it's about getting games under my belt because it's about my personal development.

"Normally when players go on loan the Club tries to send them to a club that’s doing well, obviously I’m in a side that’s near the bottom but it’s still benefiting me.

"I suppose I’m learning the hard way but it’s been a great experience and I now want to help Millwall get out of the relegation zone. It’s been a tough spell for the club."

Millwall’s position is perilous at the very least with 11 games remaining. They are currently third from bottom but five points away adrift of Sheffield Wednesday – the pair met a fortnight ago and the Owls grabbed a controversial victory when Millwall thought they had scored, the goal was disallowed but as they celebrated, Wednesday went up the other end and scored themselves.

As Phil pointed out, the result summed up Millwall’s plight. "That’s the luck you get when you are down there," he added. "We thought we’d scored and were celebrating and they went down the other end and scored. All we can do is get on with it.â€Â

"There are 11 games left including a home games against a couple of the sides around us, so if we win those games we should be okay."