After eight trophy-laden years in red, James Milner’s time at Liverpool is almost at an end. However, it has been revealed that things could have been much different if the player with the Premier League’s third all-time appearances did not still have so much passion for the game.
While at one point, speculations were rife that the 37-year-old would accept a new deal, David Maddock of the Mirror has added a further twist, noting that the No. 7 , was also offered a role on Jurgen Klopp’s coaching staff in a bid to retain Milner’s lauded leadership and character at the club.
Klopp was allegedly eager to retain Milner, yet informal discussions didn’t yield a firm proposition, leading Milner to explore options elsewhere. Rumors suggest Brighton may be his next home, with Burnley and his former club Leeds also in the chase.
The Liverpool boss’ statements from January align with Maddock’s claim, indicating that Milner’s preference to continue playing clashed with Klopp’s intent to recruit him for his staff.
Klopp remarked at the time: “We have different plans for Milly, but Milly wants to keep playing.
“I would consider Liverpool as his club, and that means that I’m pretty sure the club should use this character and mindset, because it’s really special. There might be more fancy players out there, but nobody with a similar mindset, and that makes him incredibly valuable for us.”
This wouldn’t have been Klopp’s first try at persuading a player to trade the pitch for the coaching box. The German manager attempted the same with Kolo Toure in 2016, who instead opted for a swan-song season at Celtic before transitioning to an assistant managerial role.
Last December, Milner opened up about the possibility of a future coaching role during an interview with Ben Foster for Amazon Prime, noting the precariousness of such a career. ]
“In football,” he said, “You see a manager come in, do well and get a new contract for five years and get sacked six months later. It’s like, ‘do you want that stress?’. It’s crazy.”
As we await official confirmation of Milly bot’s next destinations, we can’t help but appreciate his undeniable contributions to the Liverpool legacy.