Monday 21 August 2017 / 05:04 AM

‘BIG SAM’ MUST MAKE TOUGH CALL ON MILNER

James Milner came out in the press this week to issue his concern regarding a lack of game-time for England.

This was after a European Championship that saw Milner play just three minutes of what was a dismal campaign.

In his own words:

““Over the last couple of years with the England team I have not really played too much. With the good young players we have coming through, it is pointless me taking up a spot just because I am reliable.

“I am fortunate to have been involved in international football since I was 17 or 18 without stopping. I was with the under-21s and went through so I have played more than 100 games.

“I’ve been to four tournaments but if a younger guy had come in and maybe done the same job at Euro 2016, he would have taken a lot more from it than I did.

“I am happy it is Sam (Allardyce who is England manager) as I know I can have a good conversation with him and it will be honest. That is all I ever wanted.”

Sensible stuff from Milner. My concern is that ‘Big Sam’ will ignore it.

You see, Milner is a very Allardyce-type player. He’s reliable, he’s hard-working and he follows instructions.

But the reality – and I mean no disrespect with this statement – is that he’s not a particularly talented player. He’s gone a long way with good fitness, commitment and hard graft.

No one should take anything away from his achievements, and the fact that he has won 61 caps is testament to the fact that hard work can get you a long way.

But the way must end now.

As the Liverpool midfielder rightly said, there are talented young players coming through now. Eric Dier deserves the opportunity to make the holding role his own. If Jack Wilshere can stay fit, then he should slot into one of the other midfield roles. We have faster alternatives on the wings in Andros Townsend and Raheem Sterling (if his crisis of confidence ever ends).

Quite simply, there isn’t a spot for Milner in the squad anymore, and if would make perfect sense for him to call time on his international career at this stage. But clearly, he’s waiting to see what Allardyce says.

Which is concerning.

Milner is essentially forcing Allardyce into a corner and asking him to commit to playing him more frequently or not having his services at all. And given that Big Sam relishes having players like Milner in his team, I would not be at all surprised if he gave him good news rather than bad.

Which would be bad news for England, if you see what I mean.

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Seb Greenwood

CBS’s longest-serving contributor, Englishman Seb is our leading football correspondent, pulling no punches with his opinions on the Premier League and the international scene.

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