We can’t imagine there are many clubs that actually like Manchester United. We know for definite that Leeds United certainly don’t, which is perhaps why James Milner is always so fired up ahead of a game against them.
The Reds left-back is well qualified to play a key role in Sunday’s trip to Old Trafford having experienced similar rivalries with United during his time at Manchester City and of course Leeds.
As useful as his passion will be, it is important he uses his years in the game to approach the game in a level-headed manner- not that Milner himself needs to be reminded of this.
He told Liverpoolfc.com: “I was brought up in Leeds as a Leeds fan and you’re brought up not to like the red half of Manchester, that’s the way it is.”
“I’m sure they feel the same about me! It’s just part of being a Leeds fan and then playing for the clubs I have as well, it’s similar.”
“It’s important then that you don’t think like a fan when you’re on the field, obviously. [You show] that passion and you’re desperate to win but that’s when you can get caught up in the emotion and get sent off or lose your head.”
“You fall into a player’s mentality but you still have that passion to want to go and win the game.”
Not only will he need to keep his emotions in check, but he will need to be at the top of his game as far as his defensive qualities are concerned as he comes up against a much improved United attack.
His desire to win is sure to shine through in the effort he puts in, which will go someway towards inspiring those around him to replicate his attitude towards such a game.
A man of his experience and tendency to turn up for the big occasion will be vital to our chances tomorrow.