Manchester City foreign legion good for our game, says James Milner

There were just two English players who featured regularly for the champions

James Milner has rejected suggestions from the Football Association chairman, Greg Dyke, that Manchester City’s Premier League triumph is “pretty depressing” for English football. Dyke argued that, as only two Englishmen regularly played for the champions, it was of little practical benefit to England’s World Cup preparations.

The City midfielder, however, pointed out that his four years at the Etihad Stadium have transformed him as a player and given him a mental toughness that would be very useful to Roy Hodgson’s side in Brazil.

“It would be better for England if the percentage of English players were higher in the Premier League. Some teams have got more, some have got less but, overall, the percentage is the lowest it has ever been,” Milner said.

“But I have spent four years playing alongside David Silva, Sergio Aguero and these kinds of stars and I am a better player than I was four years ago. You are constantly fighting for your place. You are under pressure every time you step out on to the pitch.

“When I go into World Cup games, it will be no different to the pressure I face every week at City to keep my place in the team – and that is what will help English football.”

Asked if the years spent playing in the same midfield as Silva, Samir Nasri and Yaya Touré had made him a better footballer technically or mentally, Milner replied: “Both. I think the experience of playing in big games in the Champions League, where the pressure is so high,  and then winning league titles can only help in a World Cup.

“You have been there before, you can control the nerves. I am four years older than I was [at the last World Cup] in South Africa and have probably played another 150 games for Manchester City in that time – playing and training with the quality we have here – how can you not be a better player?”

James Milner James Milner  

The 2-0 win over West Ham United on Sunday that saw them regain the Premier League title was City’s 57th match of the season. The German Cup final this Saturday will be Bayern Munich’s 55th – and that includes a domestic and European Super Cup and a World Club Championship. The maximum they could have played was 56. Once more an English footballer preparing for a World Cup is asked how tired he is.

“You can’t be tired when you know there is a World Cup coming,” Milner replied. “It is one of the greatest things on earth.

“You can say every kid in this country grows up wanting to win the Premier League but how many kids kick a ball against a garage door dreaming of scoring a goal in a World Cup final? When things are going well in football, you can keep going, you don’t feel tired.”

In his four years at the Etihad Stadium, Milner has won all three domestic trophies, although he did not play in the 2011 FA Cup final. There is, however, no question which trophy the Abu Dhabi owners will now demand.

“The next thing we need to win is the European Cup,” said Milner. “City are a massive club in every way. You just have to look at how the club has expanded, the players that we have, the Champions League has to be the next step.

“It was disappointing to go out to Barcelona [this year] but, had things been slightly different, you never know. We beat Bayern, the European champions, in their own back yard. It shows we can do it.”

Suggested Topics
Sport
The sun rises over St Andrews golf course, but will it be a new dawn for the Royal and Ancient Golf Club?
sportAnd it's Yes to women (at the R&A)
Sport
Yaya Touré (left) and Bayern Munich’s Spanish defender Juan Bernat
footballToure's lack of defensive work is big problem for City
Arts and Entertainment
Liam Neeson said he wouldn't
tv

Liam Neeson's Downton dreams

Arts and Entertainment
A spell in the sun: Emma Stone and Colin Firth star in ‘Magic in the Moonlight’
filmReview: Magic In The Moonlight
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Sport
Wembley Stadium
footballNews follows deal with Germany
Voices
voicesApple continually kill off smaller app developers, and that's no good for anyone
Arts and Entertainment
Ben Whishaw is replacing Colin Firth as the voice of Paddington Bear
tv

Thriller is set in the secret world of British espionage

Sport
A 'Sir Alex Feguson' tattoo
football

Life and Style
life

News
ScienceGallery: Otherwise known as 'the best damn photos of space you'll see till 2015'
Life and Style
fashion

Bomber jacket worn by Mary Berry sells out within an hour

Sport
Andros Townsend is challenged by Vladimir Volkov
football
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.

Day In a Page

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
'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

The Imitation Game, film review
England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week