By Chris Rowland.
James Milner is never going to short-change you.
He’ll always run the circumference of the Earth and try his very hardest.
He’ll always be reliable, professional, uncomplaining, unstinting, unspectacular.
He’s the archetypal Steady Eddie, very English in style, … a steady 7 out of 10 man (without wishing to sway the vote!). You’ll rarely get as low as a 6 or as high as an 8.
5 and 9, to paraphrase Monty Python’s Holy Hand Grenade of Antioch (go on – watch it again here), are right out.
You know where you are with James Milner. The question is, is that A Good Thing?
His relentless, almost robotic OK-ness are part-virtue, part-problem. He’s never going to surprise us and neither, presumably, our opposition. And he can appear too – what shall we say – nice?
Tell you what James, next time a Fraser Forster towers over you trying to put you off, just say ‘yes I know how big you are, it’s going to be a long way down to fetch the ball out of your net in a minute, now fuck off out of my face and get back on your line.’ Like a lot of our players, I’d like them to be just a bit nastier. Don’t even try to intimidate them.
What did surprise us, though, was where Milner started when the season started. Hands up who saw that coming. And as Liverpool made their express start to the season, Milner’s form showed a similar trajectory – the story was, he’s doing a decent job at this left-back lark, gets up and down the pitch, supports the attack, gives a bit of width, experienced old head. And never misses penalties.
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