Six times James Milner was a better person than all of us put together

Quick Reads

James Milner is a better human being than you – yes, you. Don’t worry, it’s not just you. It’s a fact we all have to live with. James Milner is the best person on this godforsaken planet. And it’s not even close.

The Liverpool midfielder has only begun to be truly appreciated as a player after reaching the latter stages of his career, and his personality is now shining through more than ever as an all-round good guy.

We’ve taken a look back at six times we’ve just really wanted to give him a big hug and tell him how much we love him.

Under-23s

Jurgen Klopp caused plenty of controversy with his decision to field an entire team of academy players with Neil Critchley in charge for Liverpool’s FA Cup replay with Shrewsbury Town.

But while the majority of Liverpool’s senior players were away enjoying breaks in sunnier climes such as Miami and the Maldives, Milner remained in Merseyside to help out the club’s young players ahead of the game at Anfield.

After training with the team the day before the game, he was then in the dressing room to offer advice and encouragement to the squad. He even asked for Critchley’s permission before doing so.

Andrew Devine

Lifelong Liverpool supporter Devine has been confined to a wheelchair requiring 24-hour care due to injuries suffered in the Hillsborough disaster in 1989.

Devine had previously met Milner during visits to Melwood before the former England international ensured Liverpool’s open top bus stopped outside his family home during the victory parade in the city after winning the Champions League final last season.

The James Milner Foundation

In 2011, Milner established his own foundation with the aim of promoting ‘healthy recreation for the benefit of young people in the United Kingdom by the development, improvement and provision of opportunities in sports’, while also raising money for national charities such as Bloodwise, MNDA, NSPCC and Help for Heroes.

In December, the foundation celebrated its eighth anniversary by surpassing the £1million mark for funds raised.

Pre-season

At the age of 34, Milner is the oldest outfield player in Liverpool’s squad, yet he has become famed for setting the standards when it comes to fitness training in pre-season.

This summer marked five consecutive years that Milner has seen off all challengers as the last man standing in the gruelling lactate test, putting his younger team-mates to shame.

As Leeds icon Eddie Gray, who helped mentor Milner at Elland Road, told the Telegraph in May 2019: “I used to say to all the boys, make the most of this chance. Never leave a club with regret. Never feel you never became the player you could or should be. Nobody has worked harder to earn everything he deserves than James Milner.”

ABU

Growing up as a Leeds United fan, Milner was never going to be too fond of Manchester United, and his career path has seen him play for the Red Devils biggest rivals: Leeds, Manchester City and Liverpool.

“That was the idea really!” he told The Times in May 2018. “Growing up a Leeds fan, I was never allowed to wear a red t-shirt, my old man never allowed it. Seriously. ‘We can’t wear red. We’re Leeds.’

“It was strange when I signed for Liverpool, actually wearing red. My dad made a joke about it, saying, ‘That’s the first time I’ve seen you in red.’ I still follow Leeds and want them to do well and still have that same feeling towards Manchester United.”

He may have played top-flight football for 18 years, but he’s still a fan at heart.

READ: Seven of James Milner’s most Yorkshire comments: Mining, Man Utd & more

Boring James Milner

In the uber-serious and ego-driven world of professional football, Milner has shown himself to be more than happy to take the piss out of himself in his own self-deprecating way.

After being lumped with the tag of Boring James Milner, he has regularly played up to the joke, whether that be celebrating huge Champions League victories by drinking Ribena, trying to find a pack of Mini Eggs with an equal amount of different colours or giving us a sneak peak into Christmas at the Milners.

READ: The best of Boring James Milner – and the times the real one played up to it


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