LOCAL lad Leroy Millar says the switch into central midfield has made him a new player!
The 23-year-old Ballymena United player is enjoying life with the Sky Blues.
And he told Guardian Sport his move from left midfield to the centre has worked wonders for him.
“Yes, I am really enjoying football with United,” the Cullybackey man told Guardian Sport.
“The change in position has really brought the best out of me.”
Millar, a sales assistant at JD Sports in the Fairhill Shopping Centre in the town, has been with Ballymena United for seven seasons.
Last week he agreed a new two year contract extension, keeping him at Ballymena until 2021!
He began his football career with Carniny Youth before moving to United Under-12s.
Millar then got a stint in United Reserves, under David Dorian and Alex Whitley.
“I really enjoyed my time with them in the Reserves and was able to progress into the first team,” he told Guardian Sport.
Millar made his full senior debut against Dungannon Swifts at Ballymena Showgrounds.
“Unfortunately we lost 2-1, but it was a great experience and I thank the then manager Glenn Ferguson for giving me the opportunity,” said Millar.
Time has flown for the attacking midfield man who a few weeks ago notched up his 100th appearance for the Showgrounds side.
“I got my 100th outing for United when we played Institute at The Brandywell back on October 13,” recalled Millar.
“Hopefully many more first team appearances will follow.”
To date Millar has four goals, and he is keen to add to this tally as the season progresses.
Things have been going very well for the big lad.
He reflected on last term’s stop-start season, citing the bad injury which kept him out of the first team for three months.
“It was tough going at the time,” he said. “But full credit to the United physiotherapist, Gary Crosbie. He was fantastic and got me back playing ahead of schedule.”
Millar is delighted to have manager David Jeffrey and assistant Bryan McLoughlin in charge at United.
“They have been fantastic since they have came,” he told Guardian Sport. “I have developed so much as a player since they have arrived, not only physically but mentally.”
And he continued -“ I don’t have to speak too much about David and Bryan, as what they’ve won in football does the talking for them.”
Millar saw up to eight new players join the United side at the start of the season.
“All the new players have settled in well,” he said. “They are a great bunch of lads and their arrival has made us stronger, with more healthy competition for places, which gets the best out of players.”
Millar is a former pupil at Buick Memorial Primary in Cullybackey.
He was on their football team from P5-7 and captained the side in P7.
“Football coach back then was Simon Finlay, who was a great guy, and teacher,” recalled Millar.
“I remember playing with the P7s when I was in P5 and scoring the winning goal against Broughshane Primary in the Schools’ Cup. It was a proud moment for me that day.”
And Millar was part of the Ballymena United Youth Academy team which won the Cork Cup!
“ Stewart Neill was in charge of the team. We had a great weekend in tshe tournament, finishing it off with the Cup success. I had a lot of good times with Stewart at the helm, playing my football and really enjoying it.” concluded Millar.