Milner makes his mark
Thursday, 13 August, 2009
James Milner impresses on his Senior debut against Holland.
James Milner has heaped praise on England's youth and Under-21 system after he made an impressive debut for the Senior team against Holland in Amsterdam.
Milner came on as a second half substitute against the Dutch with his side 2-0 down but helped inspire Fabio Capello's team to a fantastic comeback.
The Aston Villa wide-man even set up one of Jermain Defoe's goals and looked completely at home on the international stage.
That will come as no surprise to England Under-21 Head Coach Stuart Pearce, who recommended Milner to Capello following some outstanding perfromances from the former Newcastle man. And Milner believes the incredible experience he gained winning 46 Under-21 caps and the careful way he has been eased into the first-team squad was the secret behind his display in Amsterdam.
"I feel good about the game," he said. "It was nice to finally get my first cap and just get on the field and try and contribute. But I was more than ready for it. I’ve played a lot of Under-21 football and I had been in the squad four times before. That’s the way the system works. I didn’t feel nervous, I just felt ready. I felt I was ready to go on and contribute and hopefully I did that."
Milner certainly didn't look nervous or overawed against a Dutch side who are one of the favourites for the World Cup in South Africa and he believes he has The FA's youth system to thank.
He added: "I really did feel ready and that’s all credit to the system. Having been in the squad before and not go on the pitch I knew I was ready. There’s been quite a few players come from the Under-21s so it shows the system is working and helping the players come through and feel confident to perform at this level."
Milner's test now is to play well enough for Aston Villa to keep his place in the England squad and justify the faith shown in him by Capello.
He said: “When an England Manager says good things about you it’s obviously a positive but then it’s down to you to prove him right and make sure it stays that way. You want to prove his comments right so you have to go out there and prove yourself every week in the Premier League.
"And then if you are lucky enough to get into an England squad you have to put it in during training and produce if you get on the pitch. It’s not just about every now and then, you have to do it every week. That's my aim."