More game time at Reds a pull factor for Milner

Manchester City's James Milner walks off as he is substituted during a match against Southampton.
Manchester City's James Milner walks off as he is substituted during a match against Southampton.PHOTO: REUTERS

LONDON • James Milner has confirmed that the promise of more playing time in a central midfield role was instrumental in making him decide to leave Manchester City for Liverpool.

The 29-year-old England international was announced as a Liverpool player on Monday, having joined Brendan Rodgers' team on a free transfer on July 1.

Milner, who will wear the No. 7 jersey at Anfield, turned his back on Champions League football plus a more lucrative contract extension at City to become Liverpool's first summer signing on a £150,000 (S$315,000) weekly deal.

He agreed to the move to Anfield after he was assured that Rodgers would remain as Liverpool manager following an end-of-season review conducted by the club's owner, Fenway Sports Group.

And Milner has admitted that he was convinced to leave City by Rodgers' willingness to hand him the central position that City managers Roberto Mancini and Manuel Pellegrini could not offer the player on a regular basis.

"City are a great club and I had five great years there and enjoyed every minute," said the former Leeds United, Newcastle United and Aston Villa midfielder.

"I was lucky enough to win trophies and be part of a good squad there but I just thought it was the right thing for me to hopefully go and get more game time and be part of something special.

"I want to play football and play more centrally if I can - and that's where the manager said he sees me playing. That's a big thing for me coming to the later stages of my career. I want to play as much football as I can."

He added that Rodgers was another telling factor in the transfer.

"Speaking to the manager and what his plans were for me, things I've heard about him from other players," Milner noted.

"I was speaking to Stevie (Gerrard) at England and people like that, and what he said to me made me want to come and play for him straight away."


A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 08, 2015, with the headline 'More game time at Reds a pull factor for Milner'. Print Edition | Subscribe