Liverpool’s favourite human bulldozer, ‘Hamez’ James Milner has been playing senior football since the year 2002, and in a recent interview with liverpoolfc.com, “Mr. Professional” had some wise words to share. Some memorable quotes from the interview follow.
On his soaring ambitions:
“I think it’s just will to win, I suppose, and the drive to be the best you can every day. I think when you lose that you need to retire pretty quick.
I’m very competitive in everything you do: training [or] if it’s games, you want to win. Proving people wrong still, it has always been a big driver for me.
Every interview you do now your age is brought up. I still feel fine in myself, so why not push for as long as you can? You’re a long time retired, so I want to keep going and keep pushing myself.”
On his commitment to Liverpool:
“Especially when you’re at a club like Liverpool and the demand is there every day to win, the players around you, the competition for places and the level they’re at every day, you have to be at your level otherwise you’re not going to be anywhere near it,” he said.
“The thing I’ve always said since I’ve been here is I just want to have an impact on the club and contribute on the field as much as I can. And sometimes that comes into when you’re not playing – how can you contribute with the team in terms of training and the other side of it?
“It’s the same reason why you’re driven every day to be at 100 per cent – because you want to be part of something successful. You’re a cog in a big machine that’s driving towards success.
“The standards at Liverpool are massive. Obviously being one of the senior players in the team as well, if I drop off my standards, how can I then demand any different from anyone else?
“How can I ask someone to work hard or encourage them if they look at me and say, ‘Well why am I going to do it? You’re not doing it’? That’s another big thing really.
“I think if you’re good players and a good team you can do well for a short period of time or have one good season; you need more than that to do it over a sustained period.”
On the running thread of “good character” in the club:
“I think the club has done a very good job at not only recruiting good players but recruiting good characters, and sometimes that’s more important than anything – to keep that squad harmony, to have the right attitude, people working hard and pushing to the next level.
“Then you see the guys coming through from the Academy as well, how they have been educated not only on the field but in terms of how to conduct themselves.
“And from that point then obviously the manager has to set the right tone within the squad and the standards he expects, then obviously it’s down to us as a dressing room. Hendo, the captain, does it fantastically well in terms of setting the right mindset in training and everything around the club. He sets the examples and the more we can take off the manager – he has got enough on his plate to be worrying about things in the dressing room – it’s down to the senior players in the squad.”
The complete interview is available here.