James Milner hopes domestic success for Chelsea and Manchester City can boost England

 

England midfielder James Milner admits the success of Manchester City and Chelsea over the last few weeks can only be of benefit to the national team.

City won the Premier League with two late goals against QPR while Chelsea claimed the Champions League title last Saturday and Milner admits the confidence gained from such triumphs can rub off on England.

Speaking at a press conference ahead of the friendly with Norway on Saturday, Milner said: "Our players are going to the tournament high on confidence.

"Winning is a habit and you want to get into those habits of winning trophies and get into that winning mentality.

"Players have had a taste and had a good season, others are at clubs that haven't won the Premier League or Champions League but have had good seasons individually or positive seasons with their clubs.

"It's only a good thing for us as a team going out there to Poland."

Saturday's game will be the first under Roy Hodgson, who was appointed as Fabio Capello's successor at the start of the month.

Milner said: "We've had a good couple of (training) sessions, a bit tough.

"He wanted to get across how he wants us to play.

"The lads are getting pretty clear on how we are going to set up and how he wants us to play."

He added: "The lads are feeling ready to go.

"The lads are happy. The Chelsea boys are getting much-needed rest.

"Hopefully, we'll be raring to go for the tournament.

"Every player will contribute so it's important we have a good squad of players which we do."

Manchester City defender Joleon Lescott believes the recent successes enjoyed by his side and Chelsea could prove beneficial for England's Euro 2012 bid.

Barclays Premier League champions City and Champions League winners Chelsea each provide four of Hodgson's 23-man squad.

Lescott said: "It can bode well for the country and the team, obviously coming in off the back of the Premier League title confidence will be high at the moment, and it will be the same for the Chelsea boys."

Lescott also feels the manner in which City and Chelsea won their respective titles could be a plus for the national team.

City clinched the league title with two goals in injury time on the final day while Chelsea netted a late equaliser in the Champions League final against Bayern Munich before winning on penalties.

Asked if those remarkable finishes would give the players extra belief in tough times, Lescott said: "You'd like to think so, obviously you look back and gain from past experiences and the last game of the Premier League is one of those experiences I'd like to look back on and gain something from, and I'm sure it will be the same for the Chelsea boys.

"They way they went about their victory was great and if we can join those experiences throughout the tournament it can only bode well for England."

Lescott did not flinch from addressing the subject of racism in Ukraine, days after members of Theo Walcott's family revealed they would not be travelling to the tournament because of their concerns.

The Manchester City defender said his family would not be going either, although not for the same reason.

Of whether he is worried about racism, Lescott said: "As a player no - you get on with it, it won't be the first time if it happens.

"My family won't be going out there, not for any particular reason.

"If things are said in the crowd you just have to deal with it and address it after.

"It's a shame we are talking about it, I think we always will be, it's a touchy subject for some to talk about.

"I think if you address it pretty early I don't think it will be as much of a problem.

"In this country on the whole I think we are stepping in the right direction."

Of Walcott, he added: "It's a shame they have to make a decision not based on footballing reasons.

"I think it's a shame for Theo himself to deal with that."

The former Wolves player also insists there is no issue in the squad concerning the presence of John Terry, saying:

"Definitely not, there is no animosity in the squad. We are all here for the same reason and that is to do well for England."

Terry was picked ahead of Rio Ferdinand, of whom Lescott said: "He is a great player and has been a great one for England.

"He is probably one of the players I looked at most growing up. It's a shame he is not in the squad but it was the manager's decision.

"I don't think it was an easy choice to make picking his squad."

PA

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