England staying grounded says Milner - International - Football - The Independent

England staying grounded says Milner

James Milner insisted no-one in the England squad is "getting ahead of themselves" and already thinking of the World Cup finals next summer.

Fabio Capello's side surrendered their 100 per cent record in the qualifying group after eight successive wins when beaten 1-0 by Ukraine in Dnipropetrovsk on Saturday evening.

It was always an uphill battle after goalkeeper Robert Green was red carded after only 13 minutes.

But Aston Villa winger Milner believes such experiences will stand them in good stead in case they are repeated in South Africa next summer.

He said: "We are disappointed to lose the 100 per cent record. We came to Ukraine to win and wanted to make it 10 wins out of 10 in our group.

"That is not possible but we can start learning from these games. Going down to 10 men is a learning curve especially with it happening so early in a match.

"It might happen at some stage in the World Cup and it is about using that as an experience and learning from this. We did well with 10 men and were unlucky not to get something out of the game."

Milner could start against Belarus at Wembley on Wednesday if Steven Gerrard fails to recover from a groin injury which forced him to be substituted at half-time.

The former Newcastle player, England's most capped Under-21 international, is no different to anyone else in wanting to be in Capello's squad for South Africa.

But he said: "Every player wants to play in the World Cup. But no-one is looking too far ahead. Everyone is focused on the job in hand.

"We lost this game but no-one is getting ahead of themselves and I thought we put in a pretty good performance with 10 men.

"We rallied well, created some good chances, had to work very hard with 10 men and were disappointed not to get something out of the game but it just didn't happen for us."

England's defending again was far from exemplary with Rio Ferdinand having a particularly unhappy time in only his third international during the past 12 months.

But Milner said: "Are we concerned about mistakes? I don't think so. You are going to make mistakes in every game and at the highest level you get punished.

"It is about learning from those mistakes, watching the video and making sure the mistakes happen less and less."

Midfielder Michael Carrick echoed Milner's views. He said: "I think Rio is as sharp as ever.

"I thought everyone looked good - especially in the second half - and we got stronger and stronger and showed a lot of character."

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