Thursday 3 May 2018 17:56, UK
In-form Liverpool midfielder James Milner could play a key role for England at the World Cup if he was to end his international retirement, says Jamie Redknapp.
Milner announced he no longer wished to be considered for England duty in August 2016, following a disappointing European Championships, where he played just three minutes.
However, the midfielder is the top assist maker in the Champions League this season, has been an important part of Liverpool's run to the final and, with Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain's injury reducing England's options in central midfield, Milner would be a valuable option for Gareth Southgate, says Redknapp.
"James Milner has been a revelation this season," said the Sky Sports pundit. "It makes you think - would you bring him back to the England squad? I've never seen Milner play better, he's in the form of his life.
"With Oxlade-Chamberlain out, we haven't got lots of central midfield players. But he's in great form, the best form he's ever been in. He's been a top performer in the Champions League, in terms of assists.
I've never seen Milner play better, he's in the form of his life.
"Normally when a player retires, you don't like to go back but I don't think anybody in football, if Gareth Southgate did it, would say it was out of order. I think it would be a great decision, a brave decision on both parts, but one they should make."
Milner was frequently used from the bench in the latter part of his England career, often when the team were looking to secure a result. However, Redknapp feels that while the 32-year-old's versatility would be useful, Milner has shown at Liverpool that he could play a more expansive role for the national team.
"He's a great lad, a winner - and the sort of guy you want around you in tournaments. He can play right back, left back, midfield, right midfield...
"But the days of him coming on for Roy Hodgson, to shore up a game, which people found boring are gone - now there's a lot more respect for what he's doing."
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