LEICESTER, ENGLAND - Tuesday, December 28, 2021: Liverpool's James Milner during the FA Premier League match between Leicester City FC and Liverpool FC at the King Power Stadium. Leicester City won 1-0. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

James Milner admits coaching plan – but still wants to play

James Milner has revealed he is working towards a career as a coach, but insists that is not the plan as early as this summer, when his contract with Liverpool expires.

Milner is into the final five months of his deal with the Reds, and there has been no indication that the club will extend his terms beyond June 30.

That will likely leave the veteran to depart Anfield as a free agent, with a plethora of sides expected to approach him over a move, possibly including former club Leeds.

However, there has remained a slight hope that Milner would stay on at Liverpool and gradually move into a coaching role, having shown an interest throughout the campaign.

The 36-year-old has watched on from the sidelines at academy games and, during an injury layoff earlier in the season, sat alongside Jurgen Klopp‘s backroom staff in the dugout.

But in an interview with Gulf News while out in Dubai during the mid-season break, Milner insisted he is not looking to hang up his boots just yet.

“I am taking my football coaching badges, but my only intention at present is to play football for as long as I can,” he explained.

“Us footballers are retired from football for a long time.”

LONDON, ENGLAND - Sunday, December 19, 2021: Liverpool's manager Jürgen Klopp speaks with James Milner during the FA Premier League match between Tottenham Hotspur FC and Liverpool FC at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium. The game ended in a 2-2 draw. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Milner was in the UAE for the Dubai Desert Classic Pro-Am alongside Andy Robertson and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, which led to his interview with local publication Gulf News.

It is an interesting update from the vice-captain, with there being little in terms of reports on his future beyond the end of the season.

So far this campaign, Milner has made 22 appearances, the most of any player outside of Klopp’s most-used XI, but has only clocked 872 minutes on the pitch, fewer than 15 others.

He is largely a backup player as he enters the twilight of his career, though whether more opportunities would be available to him elsewhere remains to be seen.

His interview does suggest, at least, that unless Liverpool opt to hand him a contract that would take him beyond his 37th birthday, he is likely to leave Merseyside in five months’ time.