Richards: Milner ‘like Ibrahimovic’ can play until he is 40

Micah Richards has likened Liverpool midfielder James Milner to Zlatan Ibrahimovic in that he can play at the highest level for years to come.

Since making his senior debut for Leeds United in 2002/03, Milner has made over 550 Premier League appearances.

The 35-year-old is a three-time Premier League winner. He has also won the Champions League, FA Cup and League Cup.

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Milner has made 17 appearances for Liverpool so far this season. He still widely regarded as one of the fittest players in the division and he is showing no signs of slowing down.

Writing in his BBC Sport column, Richards said Milner is “fitter now” than he was in his prime:

“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.

“I don’t think he is underrated any more. As well as playing more than 800 senior matches, just look at what he has won. Every domestic club honour, including three Premier League titles. Plus the Champions League, Super Cup and Club World Cup, and more than 60 England caps.”

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