James Milner close to new Premier League landmark
The coronavirus pandemic has brought life as we know to a standstill. Not only have Liverpool been forced to wait for their Premier League triumph but James Milner has also been forced to wait to cross a personal milestone.
At 34, Milner is in his 18th season in the top-flight and is Liverpool’s most experienced player. He also happens to be one of the fittest, which makes it all the more surprising that he missed a number of games since the turn of the year due to injury.
He suffered a hamstring tear in the 1-0 win over Everton in the FA Cup in January. Milner did not return to action until a month later against Norwich City. He missed five Premier League games and is hence being made to wait for a milestone that he should already have had in the bag.
Milner has enjoyed considerable success both personally and as a part of a team in his storied career. According to the Liverpool Echo, he can add another feather to his cap by equalling Gary Speed’s record of 535 Premier League appearances when he next takes to the field.
That will take him to joint-fifth in the all-time list of appearances, just behind former Liverpool goalkeeper David James. The veteran midfielder has made just 18 appearances in the league this season. This is incredibly his lowest since making the move to Anfield. A versatile player, he can also play almost anywhere on the pitch.
A former PFA Young Player of the year winner and a PFA Team of the Year nominee, Milner is in line to win his third Premier League, the same number as Frank Lampard. Despite his advanced age, he remains an important part of Jurgen Klopp’s squad and had recently signed an extension until 2022.
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Gareth Barry holds the record for the most appearances with 653. It is unlikely that Milner will ever get close to that number. The 34-year-old has flourished since joining Liverpool and will go down as one of the Reds’ best free signings.