James Milner is a tried and tested workman of the England squad. Not quite the attacking force of the average winger but a good player to have if you think your right-back may require a bit of protection.
Last night, James Milner lived up to his reputation as a workhorse by running the line for the entire 90 minutes. His tireless engine is impressive but does he contribute to England’s inability to score goals?
This season for Manchester City and England he has been used as a wide-man primarily but he has also gained a solid reputation as a holding midfielder. Despite being used in an offensive position, he has only scored three goals and assisted one for his club this campaign and his stats for England are just as unimpressive - one goal in 36 caps.
It is accepted that Milner’s inclusion for England is born out of Glen Johnson’s inadequacies as a defender. He is not a wingman with pace, delivery, who can score and assist goals on a regular basis.
Although Theo Walcott would have arguably started ahead of Milner were he fit to play, it still begs the question of whether Milner should be involved in the England set-up at all. England struggled to breakdown the Montenegrin defence and Milner’s lack of offensive prowess contributed to that.
Instead of relying on the Manchester City player Hodgson may be better off by giving a chance to some of the younger prospects in English football. Both Raheem Stirling and Wilfried Zaha would be better suited to the role of the flying winger and inevitably bring in more goals.
Why is Hodgson so reluctant to include a bit of youth in the side? In the 2010 World Cup, Germany threw the then 21-year-old Mesut Ozil and a 20-year-old Thomas Muller into their side. Young and attack minded, they tore England apart, Milner included.
It may be time to stop playing safe with James Milner.
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