Milner happy to play defensive midfield role

James Milner is ready to slot into the holding midfield role normally occupied by his former Aston Villa team-mate Gareth Barry for the World Cup if asked to by England coach Fabio Capello.

Milner admits his strengths are as an attacking player as demonstrated during an excellent season for Villa which culminated in him being chosen as the PFA Young Player Of The Year.

But Barry's ankle problem and the non-selection of Owen Hargreaves has left Capello with a possible void to fill in South Africa.

And the versatile Milner is ready to answer the call should it come from the Italian.

He has already been converted successfully by Villa boss Martin O'Neill from a wide player into a central midfielder during the past season.

Milner said: "Could I fill the Barry role for England if he is not fit? That is down to the manager to decide. All I can concentrate on is doing as well as I can in training and in these two games (with Japan and Mexico).

"Forcing your way into the World Cup squad first of all, is all I am concentrating on and then everything else takes care of itself.

"But if I were picked there, it's another football match. You've played there for your club and it is no different playing for your country.

"Could a holding role come naturally? I will play anywhere I am asked to play and do it to the best of my ability. My attributes are probably more suited to going forward and creating things.

"But, wherever I am asked to play, I'll do it to the best of my ability and try and adapt to the role and learn the role as best as possible."

It is that willingness to adapt which has impressed Capello who even played Milner at left-back for a spell during the World Cup qualifier with Belarus at Wembley last autumn.

Milner has made massive strides this season as a player and it is no surprise Manchester City have launched a £20million bid to buy him which was instantly rejected by Villa.

Milner said: "I feel I have progressed this season I think you like to think you improve every season. That's the aim.

"It's been a bit of a different season with moving inside and I've enjoyed it immensely and hope I've improved as a player by moving in there and still learning the role.

"I played it a lot when I was younger but I am still learning it.

"I think you are still learning whether you are 24 or 31 especially when you are playing with good players, which I am lucky enough to be doing at club level and with country."

Sport
FootballGerman sparks three goals in four minutes at favourite No 10 role
News
peopleFrankie Boyle responds to referendum result in characteristically offensive style
Sport
Lewis Hamilton will start the Singapore Grand Prix from pole, with Nico Rosberg second and Daniel Ricciardo third
F1... for floodlit Singapore Grand Prix
Arts and Entertainment
'New Tricks' star Dennis Waterman is departing from the show after he completes filming on two more episodes
tvHe is only remaining member of original cast
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
tvHighs and lows of the cast's careers since 2004
New Articles
i100... she's just started school
News
news
New Articles
i100
Life and Style
Couples have been having sex less in 2014, according to a new survey
life
Arts and Entertainment
musicBiographer Hunter Davies has collected nearly a hundred original manuscripts
Sport
football
New Articles
i100... despite rising prices
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

Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam