It may not have been the most memorable of fixtures barring one stunning goal from Emre Can, but Liverpool’s Premier League clash against Watford last night saw James Milner reach an impressive milestone of 450 appearances in the top flight.
Only 21 players have managed the feat before, putting the former England international in a rather exclusive club that not only highlights the quality required to have such a lengthy career at the very top of the game but also Milner’s impressive durability – a consequence of his natural athleticism, his ability to adapt to different roles in different teams and his underlying professionalism.
Milner made his Premier League debut for Leeds all the way back in 2002, becoming the division’s second-youngest ever debutant. Since then, he’s represented four more of English football’s biggest clubs – Aston Villa, Newcastle, Manchester City and Liverpool – lifted two Premier League titles, represented the Three Lions 61 times and claimed a place in the PFA Team of the Year.
I just said to Jordan Henderson Can you believe Paul Pogba just hit the crossbar? He said What do you mean? I said PogBAR. It was so funny.
— Boring James Milner (@BoringMilner) April 4, 2017
He’s never been the most fashionable of footballers – something infamous Twitter parody Boring Milner pays direct testament to – but the numbers speak for themselves and for a Premier League career spanning twelve years, five clubs and ten different positions, ranging from right-back to centre-forward, the Liverpool man’s show an impressive consistency – particularly his 46% win rate.
Whether Milner excites or bores you, leaves you lauding his work-rate or criticising his inconsistency on the ball, there’s no question the 31-year-old has been a fantastic servant to the Premier League, always doing what his manager asks of him, changing his game for the needs of the team and letting his football do the talking. A well-earned milestone.