James Milner puts focus on all-round performance for England, not goals

 

England midfielder James Milner was pleased to open his goalscoring account at senior international level last week but believes all-round contribution is more important.

The Manchester City ace scored the fourth goal in England's 5-0 victory over Moldova as Roy Hodgson's side started their World Cup qualifying campaign in style.

Milner, 26, has played a part in every international under Hodgson and has enjoyed a pivotal role in the new regime.

"If I was to never score another goal for England but we won the World Cup - and I was running around doing the not-glamorous things - I'd be delighted with that," he said.

"The main thing is contributing - whether it is with assists or doing the job you have to do for the team. That is what I'll do and hopefully that will mean scoring more goals.

When Milner first burst onto the scene as a 16-year-old at Leeds he had a reputation as a goalscoring midfielder playing through the middle.

Although his game has since adapted and seen him turn into a wide player Milner revealed he still prefers a central role.

He said: "It is always nice scoring goals and contributing as much as you can. I think my best scoring season was at Aston Villa when I was in that more central role.

"I still think central is my best position. That is why Manchester City signed me from Aston Villa because I was playing the middle.

"It is down to the manager to pick the team and if he asks me to play wide, that is where I'll play as well as I can and perform as well as I can."

Milner has also been operating as a winger under Hodgson but believes the way the former Liverpool boss deploys his attacking players utilises his own attributes.

"I think the way the manager wants us to play is very different to maybe how you sometimes play at Manchester City and how we played under the previous manager," he said.

"The manager wants you coming in little pockets and playing in there and linking in with the strikers and midfielders and I think that probably helps as well. It adds more to my game than staying as wide as I can.

"I think you saw the other night there was a good freedom to the system. The other boys in the middle interchanged very well, rotation allowing them to get on the ball and wide men coming off the wing."

PA

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Blundering Tony Blair quits as Middle East peace envoy – only Israel will miss him

Blundering Blair quits as Middle East peace envoy – only Israel will miss him

For Arabs – and for Britons who lost their loved ones in his shambolic war in Iraq – his appointment was an insult, says Robert Fisk
Fifa corruption arrests: All hail the Feds for riding to football's rescue

Fifa corruption arrests

All hail the Feds for riding to football's rescue, says Ian Herbert
Isis in Syria: The Kurdish enclave still resisting the tyranny of President Assad and militant fighters

The Kurdish enclave still resisting the tyranny of Assad and Isis

In Syrian Kurdish cantons along the Turkish border, the progressive aims of the 2011 uprising are being enacted despite the war. Patrick Cockburn returns to Amuda
How I survived Cambodia's Killing Fields: Acclaimed surgeon SreyRam Kuy celebrates her mother's determination to escape the US

How I survived Cambodia's Killing Fields

Acclaimed surgeon SreyRam Kuy celebrates her mother's determination to escape to the US
Stephen Mangan interview: From posh buffoon to pregnant dad, the actor has quite a range

How Stephen Mangan got his range

Posh buffoon, hapless writer, pregnant dad - Mangan is certainly a versatile actor
The ZX Spectrum has been crowd-funded back into play - with some 21st-century tweaks

The ZX Spectrum is back

The ZX Spectrum was the original - and for some players, still the best. David Crookes meets the fans who've kept the games' flames lit
Grace of Monaco film panned: even the screenwriter pours scorn on biopic starring Nicole Kidman

Even the screenwriter pours scorn on Grace of Monaco biopic

The critics had a field day after last year's premiere, but the savaging goes on
Menstrual Hygiene Day: The strange ideas people used to believe about periods

Menstrual Hygiene Day: The strange ideas people once had about periods

If one was missed, vomiting blood was seen as a viable alternative
The best work perks: From free travel cards to making dreams come true (really)

The quirks of work perks

From free travel cards to making dreams come true (really)
Is bridge the latest twee pastime to get hip?

Is bridge becoming hip?

The number of young players has trebled in the past year. Gillian Orr discovers if this old game has new tricks
Long author-lists on research papers are threatening the academic work system

The rise of 'hyperauthorship'

Now that academic papers are written by thousands (yes, thousands) of contributors, it's getting hard to tell workers from shirkers
The rise of Lego Clubs: How toys are helping children struggling with social interaction to build better relationships

The rise of Lego Clubs

How toys are helping children struggling with social interaction to build better relationships
5 best running glasses

On your marks: 5 best running glasses

Whether you’re pounding pavements, parks or hill passes, keep your eyes protected in all weathers
Joe Root: 'Ben Stokes gives everything – he’s rubbing off on us all'

'Ben Stokes gives everything – he’s rubbing off on us all'

Joe Root says the England dressing room is a happy place again – and Stokes is the catalyst
Raif Badawi: Wife pleads for fresh EU help as Saudi blogger's health worsens

Please save my husband

As the health of blogger Raif Badawi worsens in prison, his wife urges EU governments to put pressure on the Saudi Arabian royal family to allow her husband to join his family in Canada