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James Milner – What Are We Waiting For!

The Premier League campaign now fully underway but where is James Milner?

Supporter’s are looking for answers regarding James Milner and his current contract set to expire at season end.

The Champions League winner himself spoke on the subject recently saying, “As it stands, last year we spoke to the club and asked them if they wanted to do something and they said not at that time.  We haven’t heard anything since so that’s where we are at.”

Milner was integral to Liverpool’s Champion’s League triumph last season and was respected by fans for his versatility, often being played in multiple positions.

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His foray into social media has been another success and Reds fans the world over have taken to his dry wit.

Here is why the club should be doing more to ensure this legend stays at L4 a little while longer.

Leadership

Steven Gerrard was allowed to leave Liverpool at the end of the 2014/15 season for a new challenge in the United States. 

He was getting older, he was past his peak and former manager Brendan Rodger’s was beginning to phase him out of the starting eleven.

In the following season, Liverpool lacked on-field leadership.  The Red’s only won three of their opening 11 fixtures.  It was after these 11 games that FSG sacked Rodgers and appointed Jürgen Klopp.

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The European Champions are now fortunate to have multiple leaders on the field.  But as the club’s academy works hard to develop the next wave of starting-caliber players, the need for role models will be invaluable to Liverpool’s future. Who is a better role model than James Milner?

The Liverpool directors should know just how valuable Milner is from the Steven Gerrard experience.

Ability

In a time where we are seeing teenagers being sold for hundreds of millions of pounds, their ability has proven to be the ultimate decider in who plays and who doesn’t.

The youth players who are starting to make their mark on the first team are great examples of how age doesn’t matter in football.

James Milner may be at the opposite spectrum of the age bracket at 33, but his ability is yet another example of age being irrelevant. 

Klopp has even said during Liverpool’s preseason time in America, “Millie looks again in the preseason like he is in his early twenties!”

Should we be surprised that Milner looks to be performing like a twenty-year-old?

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The former England international’s eating habits, alcohol abstinence, and conditioning is all exemplarily.  Modern sport’s science has also been a key factor in elongating player’s careers.

Let’s not forget he continues to be the squad’s fittest player and lactate test king.

We may not be able to consider James Milner young anymore, but his physical and technical ability is showing no signs of slowing down.

Squad Role

James Milner is not a player in decline who supporters want to keep around solely for emotional reasons.  The 33-year-old is still very much in and around the manager’s starting XI.

In many of the biggest games last year, both in the Premier League and Champions League, Klopp preferred a midfield three of Milner, Wijnaldum, and Henderson. 

The midfield three brought immense energy that essentially overran the likes of Bayern Munich and Paris Saint Germain.

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In the last two Champions League seasons, James Milner has assisted nine goals. That’s the same amount as Messi, Neymar, and Modric combined.

As energetic as the Englishman is, he also offers a calm head out on the pitch.  He knows when to increase the game’s tempo or when things need to slow down a bit.  And when it comes to penalties, “Millie” is the no brainer first-choice.

Conclusion

Milner epitomizes the City of Liverpool.  He isn’t flashy, he’s not a showboat, but he is a hard worker and gives everything for the team.  Letting him go at this stage of his career would be criminal. 

His leadership qualities, his ability, and his role in the team could not be replaced by any other player in the world.

Liverpool players don’t need to retire to become club legends.  Milner is a great example of this, and Liverpool Football Club needs to ensure it stays that way – at least for a few more years!

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