Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

'Boring' Milner Doesn't Get Credit He Deserves; MANAGER'S DREAM PLAYER PAYS THE PRICE FOR BEING A UTILITY MAN

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

'Boring' Milner Doesn't Get Credit He Deserves; MANAGER'S DREAM PLAYER PAYS THE PRICE FOR BEING A UTILITY MAN

Article excerpt

Byline: James OILEY Chief Football Correspondent in Miami

WORLD CUP COUNTDOWN 9 DAYS TO GO THERE is perhaps no other England player who provides a greater contrast to the hyperbole presently surrounding the squad's younger members than James Milner.

The 28-year-old has won two Premier League titles, one FA Cup, a League Cup, earned 46 senior international caps and holds the record for England Under-21 appearances with the same number yet individual accolades are relatively sparse, perhaps due to his uncomplicated and workmanlike demeanour. His harshest critics would argue those traits make him, frankly, dull. Those who pay testament to his quiet efficiency are countered by others who deem his contribution anonymous and uninspiring. A parody Twitter account, Boring James Milner, has more than 240,000 followers compared to the relatively modest 15,000 signed up to his own account, created for charity purposes, and there were a smattering of boos to greet his introduction as second-half substitute during Friday's 3-0 victory over Peru.

Milner doesn't drink, is very rarely embroiled in controversy and always willing to sacrifice individual pursuits for the greater good. In many senses, he is a manager's dream, and yet he is often castigated left, right and centre wherever he plays.

The clamour to see Roy Hodgson throw his inexperienced youngsters into action will be sated here tomorrow with Raheem Sterling, Ross Barkley and Luke Shaw among those expected to feature against Honduras.

Milner has played everywhere across the midfield for England during his international career yet Jordan Henderson and Jack Wilshere are now vying for a central berth alongside captain Steven Gerrard, while Sterling, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Adam Lallana are among those pushing hard to feature on the flanks when England begin their Group D campaign against Italy on June 14 in Manaus.

Sometimes being a utility man can count against a player, especially when compared to the untapped potential of younger alternatives, but Milner insists he welcomes Hodgson's decision to include the next generation of England hopefuls.

"I think it's exactly what is needed," he told Standard Sport. …

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