So often in elite sport we hear of talented professionals losing their place in a team because of a poor mental attitude, but in a strange twist, Manchester City midfielder James Milner claims his hardworking approach could have hindered his playing time, reports the Daily Mail.
Milner is known to be a consummate professional, a player who will give his all whenever called upon, regardless of the situation.
You'd think that would make him an automatic choice for most managers, but the England international believes it may have in fact counted against him in the past.
During his time at City the midfielder has grown accustomed to not always being given an extended run in the team, and he suggested his approach to being overlooked may not have always boosted his cause.
"Maybe it counts against you if you’re not sulking or ruining training if the manager leaves you out," he told reporters.
Now in to his fifth season with the reigning Premier League champions, Milner has shared a dressing room with a number of maverick teammates, from Carlos Tevez to Mario Balotelli, with some of them adopting a vastly different approach.
While we'd all hazard a guess at who Milner could be referring to, he was reluctant to point the finger, saying: "I'm not naming names. I've played with enough players for you to decide who it can be."
Despite currently enjoying a run in Manuel Pellegrini's starting 11, it's likely to be just a matter of time before he once again finds himself watching from the sidelines such is the strength of City's squad.
However, when that time comes, Milner, the proud owner of 50 England caps, won't be caught feeling sorry for himself, despite what a spell out of the City team could do to his international career.
The 28-year-old said: "The manager knows I’ll just carry on training as hard as I can. It’s no good for the team if someone sulks or disrupts training.
"The team comes first, whether it is England or Man City. It is no good for the team if you do alienate yourself from the group and start making things difficult."
Since the appointment of Roy Hodgson as England boss in 2012, Milner has rarely been out of the squad, though a starting place has often been hard to secure.
However, despite seeing players such as Jordan Henderson, Raheem Sterling and, most recently, Fabian Delph picked ahead of him, the former Leeds, Newcastle and Aston Villa man understands the situation.
"It’s a dilemma for the England manager. It’s difficult when someone’s not playing much at club level and he is seeing other people playing every week. It’s definitely frustrating but on the other hand it’s England," said Milner.
And although he may now find his route to a starting birth blocked by a number of younger talents, you can be assured Milner won't be the next England man to end his international career.
"‘I don’t think I could ever turn my back on my country and look back thinking I’d stopped, just to have a few extra days off," he concluded.
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