Sunday, 14 June 2015

City’s loss is Liverpool’s gain but…

…where does James Milner ‘lose & gain’ in his decision to join Liverpool when his Manchester City contract expires at the end of June?

His decisions / choices

Of course he’s his own man and the decision to swap the blue of Manchester for the red of Merseyside was his to make. But this is my Blog and so this is how I see where James’ decision-choices have left the England midfielder.

WAGE: Apparently James has gone from a Manchester City offer of £165,000 per week to an actual wage of £125,000 at Liverpool. We’ve been told time and time again that money wasn’t the issue for James and I, for one, firmly believe that. However, facts are facts in this case and although I don’t see the Milner family having-to-now shop at budget stores an’ the like; he is now on a lower income and so…

GAME TIME: With the likes of Kevin De Bruyne, Paul Pogba and, for-me-right-winger Raheem Sterling being linked with summer moves to the Etihad; and with Stevie Gerrard having left our shores for a new start in America; there’s no doubting that James will get far more assurance of ‘minutes on the pitch’ at Anfield…as well as in his apparently-preferred ‘central midfield’ position too. This, again we are told and I believe, was his main reason for wanting the move (without having to move house either). And, so…

INTERNATIONAL EFFECT: Following on from the last decision effect, this will clearly benefit him with regards to his England career. And for a player with a great level of fitness and in-game ‘engine’; as long as he’s needed skill & positional-wise by the England Manager then his move to Liverpool will no doubt benefit him internationally. Good move on that score and so…

POTENTIAL TROPHY COUNT: Now of course this one really IS open to long-term debate. But I feel pretty safe with my argument that we are far more likely to have provided James with more winners medals over the next few season than Liverpool are likely to. At best – and I do MEAN at best – over the next four seasons I just can’t see James adding to what he achieved at Manchester City more than, perhaps, a League Cup winners medal; maaaaybe, an F.A. Cup winners memento and if he’s REALLY lucky a Europa final or even winners medal. I can see him possibly getting one or two of those should he see out four seasons with the Merseysiders. Could I then be so bold as to suggest that in that time we will have won the Premier League title again at least once, possibly twice (or more?); another League Cup or, more likely, F.A. Cup and that we’ll at least get to the final of the Champions League in those same four years…and may even WIN Europe’s most-sort-after club trophy? I don’t think that’s wholly unrealistic of me; perhaps it’s even a very conservative estimate and so, for James, that’s a solid…

IN SUMMARY: Has James made a bad move? Does he get an overall ‘PING!’ or a ‘ER-ERRR!’? Well actually…I think neither really.

Unlike a lot of footballers these days James seems to have a very sensible head on his shoulders and without knowing for certain – and without having read any possible interview quotations that might have been published while I’ve been on holiday – I think it’s simply a case that he did indeed want more ‘game time’, which he’s pretty much assured. I also think that he’ll be hoping in some small way at least not to BE the new Gerrard but to at least give it a flippin’ good go of filling Stevie’s boots as much as he possibly can; making him loved by the Kop if not necessarily ADORED. He’s certainly got ‘the drive’ to achieve that goal.

‘Winning trophies / medals’ may well be what true professionals like James say they want most out of their career and so if we are to believe that sentiment; on that score he has most likely lost that potential in many ways by moving along the M62.

But James also seems to both ‘like’ and ‘rise to’ challenges and having ‘been there and done it’ for the most part with Manchester City; perhaps a new challenge is what he also yearns for. That’s something he’s ‘ticked’ then.

I certainly wish him well – not his new team at the detriment to us of course – and while one hand might be scratching my head in some puzzlement at his decision to move from M11 to L4 the other one is most definitely waving a FOND farewell.

Thanks for everything James. If your incoming replacements have half the heart & spirit you have shown at Manchester City then we’ll be left in good hands after your somewhat sad departure.

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