James Milner is considering international retirement to clear the way for England’s young talent.
The 30-year-old Liverpool midfielder was part of England’s squad at Euro 2016, his fourth major tournament, but barely featured as England slipped out in the second round under Roy Hodgson.
Leicester‘s Danny Drinkwater was controversially overlooked while the likes of James Ward-Prowse and Ruben Loftus-Cheek have impressed with England Under-21s, and Milner is now thinking about calling time on his international career after 61 caps.
“Over the last couple of years with the England team I have not really played too much,” Milner told several national newspapers.
“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].”
New national coach Sam Allardyce managed Milner at Newcastle in the 2007/08 season. And Milner said: “I am happy it is Sam as I know I can have a good conversation with him and it will be honest. That is all I ever wanted.”
Milner played at left-back in Liverpool’s 2-0 friendly win over AC Milan on Saturday night, adding to his reputation for versatility.
And he joked: “I’m just looking for goalkeeper now to complete the set. It’s like hunting Pokemon, it’s the only one I need!”