MIlner could still play in the Premier League at 40
He’s already the elder statesman in the Liverpool squad among the outfield players but at 35 remains one of the fittest players at the club and James Milner has been backed to be able to turn out in the Premier League when he’s 40.
His former Manchester City team-mate Micah Richards described Milner as “One of my favourite people in the world” in a wide-ranging interview with BBC Sport in which he sings the Reds veteran’s praises.
Liverpool’s Premier League form has been poor since the turn of the year, but one of the reasons I don’t think this blip will last much longer is because of the leaders in their dressing room.
My old Manchester City team-mate James Milner is a great example of that. I know exactly what he will have been saying before, during and after their games – whether he has been playing or not.
A lot of the time these days, when people rate players and talk about what they bring to a team, they just look at their stats for passes, assists or goals.
But if you just base your opinion of Milner on those numbers throughout his career, then you won’t get the full picture – not even close.
I get asked a lot about different players by people who ask what they’re really like, but Milner – or Milly as I know him – is just a brilliant person to be around – one of my favourite people in the world in fact.
He turned 35 last week and is only a couple of years older than me. I got to know him through our time together playing for England Under-21s, and I always looked up to him.
I have been around some unbelievable players at club and international level, but he is one of the most inspirational people I have met.
On top of that, he was always there for you if you needed him. I could ring him at midnight if I needed to, and I knew he would answer the phone.
The fact he is so approachable is probably the biggest compliment I can pay him. It makes it so much easier for everyone to connect with him and pick his brains, especially younger players.
On how long Milner might continue, Richards adds:
Whenever I’m asked about the level of professionalism every player should aspire to, I use him as the example. He doesn’t drink alcohol and he is probably fitter now than I was in my prime.
There’s no sign of him stopping, either. He left City for Liverpool in 2015 for more game time, and he still has that hunger.
Like Zlatan Ibrahimovic, he is one of those players who can just keep on going. I honestly think Milner could still be playing in the Premier League aged 40, if he wants to.