When James Milner joined Liverpool on a free transfer from Manchester City in 2015, expectations were not sky high that the stalwart England international would blow the roof off the place. In the years since then that he’s toiled for the Reds, he’s changed a lot of people’s opinions.
At 32 years old, Milner remains one of the most consistently diligent, hard-working, and injury-free players on Jürgen Klopp’s team. He will put in a shift in any position on the pitch and never look out of place. He also loves a penalty.
Klopp for years has been adamant about the importance of “Millie” in his side, even when people had doubts. Asked about the midfielder who has started both league games so far, the boss was once again full of praise.
“Since I worked together with him it was always fine, always good,” he said. “He started in different positions and we played different systems, then he played full-back. Now he plays in a midfield role. All our players are influential, that’s how it should be.
“For Millie, age is for sure no issue – he is an absolutely naturally skilled boy, he really is such a sports guy; he could probably do each kind of sport he tries, he’d be good in. Age is no problem. In all parts of life, at 32 if you are in any company in the world they tell you to wait a few years until you can get a real job.
“In football it sounds like they are already close to retirement. It’s not too far away but there are players who can play until 36, 37, even 38. Because of his physical abilities, I’m pretty sure he’s one of them, if he’s lucky enough with injuries, which I wish him. The end is not to see and his desire to improve is exceptional.”
The fact that James Milner has cheerfully embraced his reputation as a kindly old grandpa, making tea and doing the ironing, would seem to corroborate the fact that he isn’t too concerned about Father Time slowly but inexorably coming to claim us all.