VIDEO: Milner ready for action
By Nicholas Veevers
Wednesday, 05 October, 2011
James Milner knows from experience that England face tough game.
England ace James Milner knows better than most of his squad mates on what to expect in Podgorica on Friday, as the Three Lions prepare for their final Euro qualifying game.
The midfielder was part of the Under-21 side who travelled to Montenegro back in September 2007, a game that they won 3-0 en route to qualifying for the 2009 European Under-21 Championship Finals in Sweden.
So a repeat of that result on Friday would suit the Manchester City man down to the ground, although he knows it won’t be easy with the hosts chasing a victory themselves.
“I’ve played there with the Under-21s and there will be a great atmosphere and I’m expecting a tough game,” he admitted.
“As we saw at Wembley, they’re well organised and have some good players but we’re confident to go there and get a result.
“That’s the most important thing at this moment, going to Montenegro and getting a result. It will be great to qualify, but it won’t be easy.
“We need at least a point and they’ll have to come out at us as they need to win the game, so that will help us as well.
“We’re going there to win the game.”
Milner recalls the first meeting between the two sides at Wembley a year ago, which finished in a disappointing 0-0 draw but he feels Friday’s game will be completely different given the circumstances for both nations.
“When teams come to Wembley, they come with a game plan and it can be quite difficult to break teams down as we saw last time we played them,” he explained.
“When teams are at home they might come out against us a bit more which maybe opens more space in which we can try and use our quality.
“We need to improve and get better at breaking teams down at home though and we know that.”
Since that game, there has been something of an influx of new faces into the squad with many of them having come through the England youth ranks alongside Milner.
As the most capped player at Under-21 level in England history, Milner feels that the familiarity amongst the squad coupled with the more experienced heads who are still involved can only bode well for the future.
“Over the last year or so, a lot of the younger players have come through from the Under-21s and below and I think we have a great mixture now,” he added.
“We have that core of experienced players who have been here a long time and also the younger players.
“We’re a tight group really, with players having played together through the England youth teams always being a help.
“Everyone knows each other and that can only be a good thing, but we’re always together and always fighting for the same thing.”