James Milner‘s presence in the Liverpool dressing room is no more, but his words will continue to resonate for the next batch of youngsters rising through the ranks.
For eight years, Milner set the standards on and off the field and made sure to pass on his knowledge and expertise after more than 21 years as a professional.
He debuted for Leeds at 16 and now, at 37, he is set for a new challenge having completed the set at Liverpool – but his influence will continue to resonate for years to come.
It is no secret that Jurgen Klopp wanted to keep hold of the veteran midfielder, and it would have been ideal if the club kept him on board with the view of a coaching role.
But Liverpool’s youngsters will not be short on drawing inspiration and advice despite his departure, as This Is Anfield’s interview with Milner from 2019 shows.
“They’re treated like professional players from such a young age so everything is there for them,” Milner reflected on his rise through the ranks compared to the modern day.
As for advice, he said: “Don’t waste a day, don’t get caught up in the other side of it, just concentrate and improve as much as you can and start the good standards then because then it’ll lead you through.
“You get one chance and you don’t want to realise that you missed an opportunity five years down the line.
“Being at Liverpool is an incredible opportunity, the players you’re around and all the staff – take the opportunity and do everything you can to be the best player you can.”
“You want to help the young guys and you want that confidence,” he explained.
“On the field, you want them to be arrogant, in a good way, and have that confidence and belief and you want to encourage that.
“Off the field, it’s down to earth and making sure they’re respectful.
“People make mistakes, they’re young kids and they’re in a privileged position and getting paid good money so it’s not easy, but hopefully, we can help them learn before they make any mistakes.”
As advice goes for the club’s youngsters, there are few better to bestow it than Milner who has seen and done it all.
There are a host of young players ready to seize the moment at Liverpool – that includes the likes of Stefan Bajcetic, Ben Doak and Kaide Gordon – and Milner is the ideal role model for what is possible.