Man City and England midfielder James Milner made a surprise appearance at East Manchester Academy recently for a Tie of the Round fixture, showing his support of the PlayStation Schools’ Cup and grassroots football.
During his visit, Milner took a seat in the school’s sports hall to take questions from an excited group of students from the school.
Here’s a recap of the questions asked, with answers from James Milner:
If you were to give one piece of advice to an aspiring footballer what would it be?
I’d say stay focused. You have to make a lot of sacrifices and I played with a lot of talented young players, particularly in my days at Leeds United’s Academy, and they let off-field distractions get the better of them in some instances. It’s all about having that clear goal in your mind and staying really dedicated.
If you weren’t a footballer what would you do as a career?
It would be something to do with sport. Even from a young age it’s been a huge part of my life and I couldn’t imagine myself doing anything outside of it.
Who is the most difficult player you have ever played against?
Ashley Cole. He was always difficult to play against. He’s got a great engine and is always going up and down effectively. He’s arguably been one of the best left backs in the world for the past five/six years so he’s always been a tough customer to come up against.
What was your best and most important goal?
My best is probably one I scored for Newcastle against Manchester United, and as a lad coming from Leeds it means that bit more scoring against them. Most important was one in the League Cup final for Aston Villa, again against Manchester United.
What is a typical week like for you as a footballer?
It varies depending on the amount of games we have that week. We’re lucky enough to be in the Champions League and have two to three games a week . Training close to the games won’t be too difficult, generally the further away from the game we are we train harder. Before training there can often be a bit of treatment, go to the gym and often a lot of pre-activation stuff like getting on the bikes and other exercises to get your muscles fired up on the pitch. After training it’s all about recovery with ice baths and the like, not exciting but they have to be done! Then the game day is all about what your preparation is for.
What has been your most memorable game for Manchester City, and why?
Probably two I think. One was the QPR game where we won the league. If somebody had to write a film for Hollywood and did a season finale like that you’d definitely watch it and say that would never happen but obviously it did so that day was very special. Again beating Manchester United at their place (the 6-1 win in 2011) – to go there after having lost so many times and to beat them so emphatically was incredible.
What has been the greatest highlight of your career?
It’s hard to pick one but winning trophies is always great – it’s what you train all your life for and to win the Premier League is getting even more difficult. To be the best team over 38 games and to win the league is pretty special and to be able to do that twice is why I came to the club and something I’m incredibly proud of. Hopefully it will be two of many title wins for Manchester City.
Who are your best friends at Manchester City and England?
Probably Joe Hart. For Man City and England I’ve known him a while since the Under 21s and he’s a great lad. I’m sure you’ve seen some of the things he gets up to off the field and he’s good fun to be around. He’s a great player and also a great person to have in your dressing room and would do anything for the team. He’s a great friend and would do anything for anyone.
Who is the joker in the dressing room and what is the funniest thing they’ve done?
There’s a few, we have a great dressing room with players all over the world and Alex Kolarov is a bit of a joker. He’s got such a stern face on the pitch but he’s always joking around. Before every game we have a mascot that comes into the dressing room and will get his shirt signed etc and he’ll chat to them and have a word in their ear and say something like ‘where I come from, they eat children’ and you just see the blood drain from the kid’s faces! He always has a laugh with them afterwards though, he’s a great lad.
When you are not playing football what do you like to do to relax?
I’ve got two dogs so I enjoy walking them. I play a bit of golf and play on the PlayStation so it’s nice to get away from things and get your mind off football sometimes as it is full on.