World Cup 2014: 'Boring' James Milner provides a clear contrast to England's crop of young players, but he admits it's 'exactly what it is needed' in the current squad

A parody account of Milner that labels him boring echoes the feeling that some critics have in finding him dull and uninspiring

James Milner offers a large contrast to the current hyperbole that surrounds England's young World Cup contingent, perhaps more so than any other member of the current squad.

The Manchester City midfielder boasts a trophy record of two Premier League titles, one FA Cup and a League Cup as well as earning 46 senior international caps. Milner also holds the record for England Under-21 appearances with the same number yet individual accolades are relatively sparse, perhaps due to his uncomplicated and workmanlike demeanour, reports the Evening Standard.

His harshest critics argue that it is those exact traits make him, frankly, dull. Those who pay testament to his quiet efficiency and speciality in the unglamorous during matches are often countered by those who deem his contribution anonymous and uninspiring.

A parody Twitter account, ‘Boring James Milner’, has more than 240,000 followers compared to the relatively modest 15,000 signed up to his own account, created for charity purposes, and there were a smattering of boos to greet his introduction as second-half substitute during Friday’s 3-0 victory over Peru.

Milner doesn’t drink, is very rarely embroiled in controversy and always willing to sacrifice individual pursuits for the greater good. In many senses, he is a manager’s dream and yet he is often castigated left, right and centre – wherever he plays.

The widespread clamour to see Roy Hodgson throw his inexperienced youngsters into action will be sated here in Miami tomorrow with Raheem Sterling, Ross Barkley and Luke Shaw among those expected to feature against Honduras.

Milner has played everywhere across the midfield for England during his international career yet Jordan Henderson and Jack Wilshere are now vying for a central berth alongside captain Steven Gerrard, while Sterling, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Adam Lallana are among those pushing hard to feature on the flanks when England begin their World Cup Group D campaign against Italy on June 14 in Manaus.

Sometimes being a utility man can count against a player, especially when compared to the untapped potential of younger alternatives, but Milner insists he welcomes Hodgson’s decision to include the next generation of England hopefuls.

“I think it is exactly what it is needed – you want competition all over the squad and we definitely have that,” he told the Evening Standard. “We have got players who can play in different roles and in different ways.

“You want that competition and it is an exciting young squad but we have a good mix of senior players as well and I think there are five or six or us who were at the last World Cup so anything we can do to help the young players or anything I can to help as well, that’s a big role that we have to make those players feel as comfortable as they can be going into a World Cup.”

Milner is also expected to feature at the Sun Life Stadium tomorrow in what will be his 20 appearance under Hodgson, who remains a firm admirer regardless of external pressures to dispense with his services.

He is not the type of character to take anything forgranted and it is perhaps no surprise that he rarely assumed he would be an automatic selection for the 23-man squad despite featuring in the last two tournaments under Hodgson and his predecessor, Fabio Capello.

“You get asked about the World Cup so many times during the season and the thing is the form that gets you there is playing well for the club,” he said. “That’s the only thing during the season that I was concentrating on, doing well for the club and ultimately that is what gets you in the England squad.”

Milner’s season could hardly have ended better, with City pipping Liverpool in the final strides to win the League title by two points.

He featured in City’s final five matches – starting three of them – in which Manuel Pellegrini’s side took maximum points to snatch the trophy and although there are five Liverpool players in the squad – plus Jon Flanagan, who has travelled to the United States despite failing to make the final 23-man squad, Milner insists he and City team-mate Joe Hart are not compelled to keep the bragging rights quiet.

“No, not really,” he said. “But I think the same way that it has gone for us and we are concentrating on the World Cup, it is the same for them as well.”

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
This weekend's 'Big Hero 6' by Disney Animation Studios
arts + ents
News
i100
News
Budapest, 1989. Sleepware and panties.
newsDavid Hlynsky's images of Soviet Union shop windows shine a light on our consumerist culture
Arts and Entertainment
Eleanor Catton has hit back after being accused of 'treachery' for criticising the government.
books
News
In humans, the ability to regulate the expression of genes through thoughts alone could open up an entirely new avenue for medicine.
science
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

Isis hostage crisis: The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power

Isis hostage crisis

The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power, says Robert Fisk
Missing salvage expert who found $50m of sunken treasure before disappearing, tracked down at last

The runaway buccaneers and the ship full of gold

Salvage expert Tommy Thompson found sunken treasure worth millions. Then he vanished... until now
Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Maverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
Assisted Dying Bill: I want to be able to decide about my own death - I want to have control of my life

Assisted Dying Bill: 'I want control of my life'

This week the Assisted Dying Bill is debated in the Lords. Virginia Ironside, who has already made plans for her own self-deliverance, argues that it's time we allowed people a humane, compassionate death
Move over, kale - cabbage is the new rising star

Cabbage is king again

Sophie Morris banishes thoughts of soggy school dinners and turns over a new leaf
11 best winter skin treats

Give your moisturiser a helping hand: 11 best winter skin treats

Get an extra boost of nourishment from one of these hard-working products
Paul Scholes column: The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him

Paul Scholes column

The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him
Frank Warren column: No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans

Frank Warren's Ringside

No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans
Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

Homeless Veterans appeal

MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

Comedians share stories of depression

The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

Has The Archers lost the plot?

A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

14 office buildings added to protected lists

Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee