Former Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal has waxed lyrical about Champions League winner James Milner.
The midfielder has caught the eye of the Dutchman because of his hard-work ethic he shows week in, week out, for the Reds.
The former manager has held Milner up by tearing Lionel Messi down – he’s suggested that he’d rather have a team of Jimmys than be lucky enough to have one of the Argentine icon.
“Look at Barcelona. How many Champions [League] have won with what they say is the best player in the world?” he told El Pais. “Look at Neymar at PSG. How many Champions won? Neymar and Messi I like them as individual players, not as team players. I believe that in collective games there is nothing more important than the team player.
“One of the best is James Milner. In the final of the Champions he played as a defender and as a midfielder. It’s great that I can offer that at 33. I think Messi should ask himself how it is possible that he has not won a Champions League for so long.”
It’s a little odd, to be honest, that van Gaal is 1. commenting on this six weeks after the game, and 2. using a player that is – frankly – too good to play anywhere else to compare with our man.
Milner is known for his versatility – it’s one of the reasons Jurgen Klopp loves him, but it’s not something to use to beat down the best player in the world.