Blackpool – English footballer, Justin Mills, has developed a fearsome reputation in England over the last few years.
Mills is a defensive midfielder who is especially noted for his very aggressive style of play, earning him a “hard man” image on the field. Not noted for his goal scoring or fancy footwork, Mills is a throwback English footballer, who relies on his physicality and relentless determination to succeed. He certainly stands out (and not just for his extravagant array of tattoos) in an era of increasingly technical footballers.
He’s also not shy of leaving his mark on opposition players’ shins, as he has already been sent off a remarkable 12 times in his 4 year professional career. He has a wild and unpredictable streak which strikes fear into the heart of opposition players and has earnt him the nickname “The Butcher of Blackpool”.
Lots of questions were asked when Paddington United chose to splash out £500,000 on Mills this summer. Having lost Brazilian wonderkid Reevaldo after he fell out with club manager Leo Nadal , the club plummeted down the league table and barely avoided relegation last season. The team lacked an identity following Reevaldo’s departure and Nadal felt the team needed a leader and a physical presence in midfield to make them tougher to beat.
Having played in the division below, Mills was a surprising choice for Paddington United. Not much was known about the player other than his reputation as a “hard man” and there have always been rumours about his off field life, ranging from his fondness for gambling in card games, and his love for frequenting bars and nightclubs.
Nevertheless, Paddington United signed Mills to a 4 year deal in this summer’s transfer window, and the club will be hoping Mills can help turn around the club’s fortunes on the field this season.
Five things to know about Mills
He grew up in Blackpool, in the North West of England, honing his football skills on local parks in some fiery youth football games. He was first scouted by his youth team when he was ten years old.
Mills has a bit of a ‘party-boy’ reputation, and has been frequently seen at nightclubs with local C-list celebrities after games and during international breaks.
Mills also has been known for frequenting casinos and underground poker tournaments, where he has a reputation for betting big money and being a bad loser.
Mills lists Vinnie Jones and Stuart ‘Psycho’ Pearce as his idols, and given their respective playing styles it’s difficult not to see the resemblance.
Mills famously had his jaw broken in a match after receiving an elbow from an opposition player in the 75th minute of the game, but played the rest of the game as his team were out of substitutions.