James Milner is eager to hit the ground running at Liverpool and make a big impression during our pre-season fixtures.
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We fly out to beging our two-week tour of the Far East on Sunday and we play our first game against a Thai All-Star XI on Tuesday. We then play two games in Austrlia before finishing the tour with matches in Malaysia and Finland.
Milner, who could make his Liveprool debut in the first of those games following his summer move from Manchester City, has told the Echo that the trip is the perfect opportunity to become properly acquainted with his new teammates.
“It is an important time regardless, but especially as a new player coming in and for new signings. You spend that much time together,” he said.
“You are only together for two weeks but I think because you spend that much time training and travelling, and you are with each other for every minute of the day, you feel like you have known your teammates for months rather than just weeks, spending that much time together.
“It is an important time for new signings but also just as a team as well, players coming in and getting used to how to play with each other. You want that base fitness and getting that confidence and, touch wood, coming through it with no injuries. It is a really important time and a time that the whole season is based on.”
The England international, whose career has also spanned spells with Leeds United, Newcastle United and Aston Villa, has played against the Reds on 24 occasions during his career and admits he has some idea of what to expect from our incredible fans.
“I’m pretty aware of how big the club is, speaking to other people as well, you don’t really realise the size of the club until you go abroad and go to the Far East and these sorts of places and see the reaction.
“Even over the summer I have been in America and people coming up to me who are Liverpool fans saying ‘hello’ and ‘good luck’ and things like that. I think that does show you the magnitude of the club and globally how well that it is known.
“It is that next level again and that pressure and expectation and that’s what everyone wants to do. They want to play with the best players against the best players and for the biggest clubs and I am certainly at one of those.
“That’s what you want every day, you want to better yourself and play under that pressure. Players like playing under that pressure and the expectation to win and that’s what there is here.”
The 29-year-old is particularly excited by the prospect of playing in Australia, a venue the Reds haven’t visited since 2013. We played in front of an incredible 95,000 supporters at Melbourne Cricket Ground two years ago and Milner is eagerly anticipating a similar welcome down under this time around.
“I have never been to Australia, so it will be nice,” he continued. “It is a bit of a long way but I have never been so I am looking forward to going there. I have been to most of the Far East. It’s just Australia really that I haven’t done pre-season, so it’s good to go to these places and see the fans.
“Obviously we’ve got a big following in England but you don’t realise how many people watch the Premier League every single week until you go out there and see the fans. You don’t realise the magnitude of how many people watch the Premier League in America and in the Far East and these sorts of places.
“So to go out there and see how crazy they are about their football teams even though they are so far away and the support they give and probably staying up until silly o’clock in the morning to watch the games it shows you how big and well watched the Premier League is and how important your role is to so many people around the world.”