James Milner takes on questions from the pupils of Wade Deacon High School in Widnes at the final ESFA PlayStation Schools’ Cup Tie of the Round roadshow.
If you were to give one piece of advice to an aspiring footballer what would it be?
When you’re young, enjoy it – that’s the biggest thing. You also have to work hard, whether it’s football or school work you’ve got to work hard and make sacrifices to get anywhere with it.
If you weren’t a footballer what would you do as a career?
I’d like to think something in sport – I played a lot of cricket when I was younger as well. Anything that would get me outside and active like coaching or cricket I’d hope.
Who is the most difficult player you have ever played against?
Directly up against is probably Ashley Cole, he’s very difficult to play against. Lionel Messi is another one who’s pretty tough to handle! There’s a big debate on whether it’s Ronaldo or Messi and who’s better and I’ve been fortunate enough to play against them both and for me, Messi seems to be that extra level up and seems to be playing a different game to most people.
Who is the best player you’ve played with?
It’s really tough to separate Sergio Aguero and David Silva.
At the club who would win a 100m race?
Divock Origi is pretty sharp and Alberto Moreno too but I’ll give it to Divock.
Who do you think is the best midfielder in the world?
I would probably say David Silva; there are things that he does that you don’t appreciate until you’re on the pitch with him.
What was the team’s reaction when you found out Jurgen Klopp would be the new Liverpool manager?
It was a good appointment, you never know what a manager is going to be like as they’re all different to work under and bring different things. I knew a bit about him and played against him for Man City against Borussia Dortmund and they should have beaten us about 8-1 – Joe Hart was outstanding that night and we ended up drawing 1-1.
I knew what type of style he’d play but it’s always difficult changing manager who have their own ideas. He’s a good guy, what you see in interviews is pretty much what you get – he’s a bit crazy! He’s a funny guy but he can also go ballistic if he needs to. Sometimes the hardest thing when coming to England is getting the media onside with you but he seems to have done that and that’s been a great start – I’m sure we’ll do well under him.
What has changed since you arrived at the club?
Obviously the manager changed and a few new faces too as well as a new stand being built – it’s an exciting time for the club. I’m sure you’ll see some more changes in the summer too, everything is there for us to do well and it’s a very young squad. Compared to Man City it’s a much younger squad and as one of the older ones it’s up to me to look after them and be a role model.
Did you feel any pressure being given the number seven shirt at Liverpool?
Not really, it’s a big shirt at the club but you have to have confidence in your own ability and fulfil the responsibility. No-one will put more pressure on you than yourself and I don’t need anyone to tell me when I’ve had a bad game and it’s important to push yourself on to great things.
What was your best and most important goal?
Two different answers to that one. Best was probably a nice one I scored against Manchester United for Newcastle, it’s always good to score against them as not many people like them! Most important goals were in a League Cup final and a winner against Bayern Munich in the Champions League.
Who are your best friends in football?
Joe Hart is one of them – I spent a lot of time with him at Man City. Gareth Barry is a good mate too, even if he plays for the other team on Merseyside! Football is strange as you can spend so much time with people every day in training and travelling with them but one day they can be transferred and you’ll barely see them again.
As soon as you heard interest from Liverpool at the end of last season, was your mind made up that you wanted to join the club?
It was a tough decision for me, I was in a fortunate position that if I stayed at Man City I’d have been happy and moving to Liverpool made me happy as well. Knowing what Man City were doing in the summer I probably wouldn’t have played too much behind two £50 million players (De Bruyne and Sterling) and I felt I was at a point in my career where I wanted to play more football and have a new challenge at a massive club. It was a tough decision but Liverpool is a great club and being there is a fantastic opportunity.
When you are not playing football what do you like to do to relax?
I’m a golfer so I like playing golf, it’s really relaxing.