James Milner has been around football long enough to know that it’s survival of the fittest.
Since making his debut for Leeds United way back in 2002, he’s played for six clubs in basically every position on the field at one point or another.
He arrived at Liverpool in 2015 expecting to play as a central midfielder, but around 16 months down the line, he’s a marauding right-footed left-back instead, with manager Jurgen Klopp choosing to adapt Milner’s game rather than buy a replacement for Alberto Moreno, the much maligned Spaniard.
The veteran Englishman has been exceptional in the role this term, contributing plenty in attack and remaining solid in defence, but he knows he must maintain his level – or Liverpool will recruit someone more suited.
“It is down to me to make sure they don’t buy a left back,” he said, reported in the Echo.
“He (Klopp) doesn’t owe me anything. I am a Liverpool player, he is the manager, he picks the best team to win and it is my job to make sure that what is best for Liverpool is me.
“You read a lot about players not being honourable and loyal, but clubs are not loyal to players either. But we know what business it is.”
You can’t argue with Milner’s matter of fact approach. But we’re not sure he has much to worry about. He’s only 30 and looks after himself amazingly well, so he has a number of years left – especially considering his spellbinding natural fitness.
Klopp clearly rates him very highly and with Moreno providing decent backup, we see no reason for Liverpool to invest in the left-back area any time soon.
Long may his impressive performances continue.