At the age of 35, Liverpool midfielder James Milner is currently the seventh-oldest current Premier League player, with an astonishing 568 league appearances under his belt in what has been an impressive career in English football.
Taking that into account, and with his current contract at Anfield set to expire next summer, it’s not out of the question that the Merseyside club could be looking to replace the veteran if he ends up leaving then.
Rather than potentially splashing out a significant transfer fee on a new player from another club to replace Milner if he were to leave, we feel that Liverpool could already have their perfect heir for him within their youth squad in James Norris.
The 18-year-old, who is a product of Liverpool’s youth academy, is predominantly a left-back, a position where Milner has made 66 appearances throughout his career. He has also played as a central midfielder, centre-back and left-midfielder on two occasions for England’s under-19 side this season, showing her versatility at such a young age, just as Milner has done throughout his long career.
According to Liverpool’s official website, Norris is an “energetic left-back who can also play in midfield”, has “a great work ethic matched with a sweet left foot” and “loves to get forward and support the attack”.
Throughout his short career so far, he has made 35 appearances for Liverpool’s under-18 side, with five goals and five assists to his name, as well as making 13 appearances for the under-23 side, scoring one goal and providing one assist in the process.
Norris made his senior debut for the Reds during Liverpool’s 5-0 defeat against Aston Villa in the Carabao Cup back in December 2019.
Looking ahead to the future, if he can keep developing within Liverpool’s youth teams for the time being and adapting to different positions as he has been doing, he could well go on to become a very useful figure for Liverpool in their senior squad in the foreseeable future given his versatility, especially if Milner leaves the club when his contract runs out next year.