If you were asked to name one model professional in the modern footballing era, surely the name James Milner springs to mind.
The 33-year-old is still an ever-present figure at the top level of the game, managing to stay injury-free throughout the entirety of the 2018/19 campaign apart from a 12-day absence in October due to a hamstring strain.
Milner is perhaps one of the most durable, energetic players in Jurgen Klopp’s entire squad, whilst his vast professionalism enables him to cover competently at both full-back positions.
But just how durable is the former England international?
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Well, one stat that cropped up on Twitter speaks volumes about how well Milner has looked after himself, as well as emphasising how effective he has been since the early days of his career.
1) James Milner in 2002 scoring for Leeds against a Chelsea team containing France 1998 World Cup winner Marcel Desailly. 2) Milner in a game this season in which he scored against France 2018 World Cup winner Kylian Mbappe, born 30 years after Desailly. Remarkable endurance. pic.twitter.com/dv2oJK3crL
— Peter Staunton (@petermstaunton) June 2, 2019
Back in 2002, a then 16-year-old Milner netted his second goal in three days during the festive period with a well-taken strike against Chelsea, which handed his boyhood club Leeds a 2-0 win over the Blues – the strike came just days after he netted against Sunderland on Boxing Day.
In that 2-0 win, Milner came up against World Cup winner Marcel Desailly, who was part of the 1998 tournament with France.
Fast forward 17 years, and the Leeds academy graduate is still doing the business against one of France’s latest World Cup winners, Kylian Mbappe.
Milner scored home and away against Mbappe’s Paris Saint-Germain side in the Champions League this season, a competition that he has since gone on to win as Liverpool recorded a 2-0 win over Tottenham in the final.
Remarkably, Mbappe was born 30 years after Desailly, showing just how long Milner has been competing at the top level of football as well as being an instrumental player in games too.
Intriguingly, he is showing no signs of slowing down either with Liverpool set to offer him a new contract.
A real engine of the game.