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Ex-Man City right-back Richards: ‘Milner can play until he's 40.'

Tue 12 January 2021 | 13:01

Ex-Manchester City teammate of the former England international thinks the resilient 35-year-old can stay on top form for a few extra years.

Micah Richards says James Milner is "like Zlatan Ibrahimovic," with a previous colleague of the adaptable Liverpool star seeing no reason behind why he can't play top-flight football into his 40s. 

Just a determined handful have accomplished that milestone, with it uncommon for outfield players to pass that mark. 

Players like Teddy Sheringham and Ryan Giggs have been such athletes previously, and it very well may be that Milner remains close by them at some stage later on. 

He is 35 years old yet is giving no indication of backing down and staying one of the

Premier League

's top performers. 

Having cared for himself across a gainful profession to date – one that has conveyed trophy wins at

Manchester City

and

Liverpool

– there are many clues to accept that Milner can stay at the top for quite a while yet. 

Richards assumes that to be true and said:

“Whenever I'm asked about the level of professionalism every player should aspire to, I use him as the example. He doesn't drink alcohol and he is probably fitter now than I was in my prime.

“There's no sign of him stopping, either. He left City for Liverpool in 2015 for more game time, and he still has that hunger.

“Like Zlatan Ibrahimovic, he is one of those players who can just keep on going. I honestly think Milner could still be playing in the Premier League aged 40, if he wants to.

“His mindset is astonishing; he never has a day off. Out of everything I've said, it is that character and experience that will really make the difference for Liverpool with what they are going through now.

“We won the Premier League together at City in 2012 but there were times that season when things were not going well. He was one of the people who kept everyone going.

“He wouldn't let us get super-excited when we were on a winning run, but he also wouldn't let us get too low when we were losing games and losing ground in what was a very tight title race.

“It was the way he did it too - not by shouting and bawling but by giving you proper information about what you were doing right or wrong.

“As well as what he says, he leads by example in every way. I know he's had a few little niggling injuries recently, but he's still as fit as ever. And that is not down to luck - it is because of hard work and his total dedication to his career since he made his Premier League debut for Leeds in 2002, aged 16.”

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