VIDEO: Milner warns of Welsh welcoming
by Nicholas Veevers
Wednesday, 23 March, 2011
Midfielder knows what to expect in Cardiff after Under-21 experience.
Click here for video footage.
James Milner is one player who has already experienced the passion of a game between England and Wales and he has warned his team-mates that Saturday’s match at the Millennium Stadium will be more like a domestic fixture than the usual international games they might be used to.
The midfielder was part of the England Under-21 squad which beat Wales over a two legged play-off to reach the European Championship Finals in 2008, including a 3-2 win at Ninian Park and he’s now preparing to return to Cardiff as the Three Lions resume their Euro qualifying campaign at Senior Level.
“They’re a dangerous team, they’ve got good players and it will be a great atmosphere and that will give them a lift, an extra ten per cent,” revealed the Manchester City man.
“It should be a tough game for us and we need to make sure that we win the battle and match them for effort, determination and work rate and then hopefully get the ball down and play.
“It will be slightly different to what we’re used to at international level. It will be more like a Premier League game, but it’s great for us to be involved in a game like this and both teams will be desperate to win.
“We’re going there to win, and we know that we can beat anyone with the players we have. We just need to keep improving and moving forward.”
Much of the talk in the build-up to this game has surrounded the captaincy issue, with John Terry taking over the role from Rio Ferdinand for Saturday’s match.
But Milner revealed that it hasn’t been a major topic of discussion within the squad, particularly given the number of experienced players who have been involved in recent seasons.
“It’s been business as usual really,” he said. “The Manager has made his decision and we’re all happy for JT.
“He’s a great person to have in the squad, but we’re fortunate to have some great leaders in the squad.
“The likes of John Terry, Steven Gerrard, Rio when he’s here and Lamps are all leaders, so it helps to have that experience in the squad.
“We all just want to pull together, win football matches and improve as a team.
“We’re fortunate to have a lot of good players in the squad, and even people who aren’t in the squad, so there’s always competition for places and that’s a healthy thing.
“You have to play well in training and in the games to get in the team and then stay in the team.
“You have to do as well as you can and work as hard as you can once you’re in there.”
Since progressing from the Under-21 team, the Yorkshireman has become a regular in Fabio Capello’s squad with his versatility across midfield providing a reliable option for the Italian.
Milner himself is still hoping to get the nod for a role in central midfield, but is happy to fill in where he is required in the meantime.
“I’ll play where I’m asked,” he admitted. “I think my best position is in the centre and that’s where I enjoy playing as I proved for Aston Villa last year.
“But the team’s the most important thing and wherever the Manager thinks I can do a job, that’s the main thing.”