Liverpool midfielder James Milner says he still feels as fit as he did several years ago and sees no end in sight yet.
Milner turned 35 back in January and is now almost six years at the club having signed during Brendan Rodgers’ final few months in charge – the summer of 2015.
It’s hard to put a value on the experience and influence a player like Milner can have on younger professionals at a club. However, his presence has been hugely appreciated by the man who matters most – Jürgen Klopp.
Klopp has kept Milner as an integral part of the first-team squad during a period where The Reds have won a Premier League title, a Champions League, a FIFA Club World Cup and a UEFA Super Cup. Liverpool also reached another Champions League final in that time while also coming second in the league with a then-club-record total of 97 points.
Speaking to Liverpoolfc.com, Milner commented on what he feels helps him continue at such an elite level, despite his ageing years:
“I think it’s just will to win, I suppose, and the drive to be the best you can every day.
“I think when you lose that you need to retire pretty quick.
“I’m very competitive in everything you do: training [or] if it’s games, you want to win. Proving people wrong still, it has always been a big driver for me.
“Every interview you do now your age is brought up. I still feel fine in myself, so why not push for as long as you can? You’re a long time retired, so I want to keep going and keep pushing myself.
“Obviously it’s very short term when you get to this age because anything can happen; we know that in football anyway, even when you’re younger.
“But so far I feel good, I still feel no different to what I did five, seven, eight, 10 years ago in terms of covering the distance in games and things like that. It’s no different. So, crack on.”
Milner made his senior debut for Leeds in November 2002. He spoke about what has changed in the almost-20-years since for professional footballers:
“There wasn’t the detail that we have now.
“Obviously when you’ve got people like Mona [Nemmer, head of nutrition] at the club, the attention to detail is massive. That, no doubt, has helped the education improve.
“But in terms of the other things – I’ve never drunk, I’ve always gone in the gym. The gym programmes and things have developed. Earlier in my career you’d go in the gym after training and do some leg weights or upper body weights and stuff, but not so much before training – the pre-activation and stuff.
“That has developed going forward.”
Milner and his teammates return to Premier League action this weekend as they travel to play Arsenal in London on Saturday night.
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