Micah Richards has lauded his former team-mate James Milner, who he played alongside for Manchester City many years ago…
Richards is three years Milner’s junior, but is now retired and works as a pundit, while Milly is still a Premier League footballer for the champions!
Milner isn’t an automatic starter for Liverpool, but he’s still a very valuable option for Jurgen Klopp in multiple positions across the midfield and at fullback.
“Whenever I’m asked about the level of professionalism every player should aspire to, I use him as the example. He doesn’t drink alcohol and he is probably fitter now than I was in my prime,” Richards told BBC Sport.
“There’s no sign of him stopping, either. He left City for Liverpool in 2015 for more game time, and he still has that hunger.
“Like Zlatan Ibrahimovic, he is one of those players who can just keep on going. I honestly think Milner could still be playing in the Premier League aged 40, if he wants to.”
Richards added: “His mindset is astonishing; he never has a day off. Out of everything I’ve said, it is that character and experience that will really make the difference for Liverpool with what they are going through now.
“We won the Premier League together at City in 2012 but there were times that season when things were not going well. He was one of the people who kept everyone going.
“He wouldn’t let us get super-excited when we were on a winning run, but he also wouldn’t let us get too low when we were losing games and losing ground in what was a very tight title race.
“It was the way he did it too – not by shouting and bawling but by giving you proper information about what you were doing right or wrong.
“As well as what he says, he leads by example in every way. I know he’s had a few little niggling injuries recently, but he’s still as fit as ever. And that is not down to luck – it is because of hard work and his total dedication to his career since he made his Premier League debut for Leeds in 2002, aged 16.”
Milner’s current Liverpool deal expires in 2022, so we’ll definitely get the benefit of his experience until he’s almost 37!
At that stage, we can’t imagine he’ll be getting many minutes, and might want an exit to feature more prominently elsewhere – and if this was the case – we wouldn’t stand in his way.
He’s been a loyal servant for us so far and a big reason we’ve managed to win the Champions League and the Premier League in the past two seasons.
With Kostas Tsimikas injured, Milner is Andy Robertson’s understudy again for for the foreseeable, so don’t be surprised to see him at left-back in our crazy fixture run that starts this coming weekend onwards.