James Milner quit international football in August and he is finding that the decision is leaving him energised.
There are very few people who genuinely enjoy the international break and those who do don’t quite get what football is about. The break from regular club football is often marred by the presence of injury as a result of playing against lesser opposition.
There is one man, however, who is actually enjoying having a break every now and then. That man is James Milner.
The former Manchester City player retired from international football after the Euros and he is relishing not having to travel with England anymore.
Speaking to Liverpoolfc.com last month, Milner said, “It’s obviously different. It’s a new phase for me in my career. I don’t have a rest, if that’s what people think, the manager works us hard when we’re here.”
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While he may not be going on holiday in Spain, it is certainly a welcome change from the intensity of the football that Liverpool play.
The Reds’ number 7 continued, “To concentrate on Liverpool is obviously the big thing for me now. We had a game in the [previous] international break to keep us ticking over. I felt pretty fresh going into the next round of fixtures after the international break.
“I had done it for a lot of years, going away with the national team and coming back – and sometimes it was quite tough when you had been travelling, had a couple of days and were back into the fixtures.
“You don’t really get that break. For me personally and hopefully Liverpool, it can be a positive thing that you do feel fresher after the internationals.”
Milner is 30 years old now and while he may not be showing any signs of losing his intense workman-like approach to football, he will soon be reaching a point where he finds it difficult to run non-stop for 90 minutes.
As such, he is enjoying using international breaks to recuperate and recharge.
“Although we’re training hard here, you get the odd day off here and there, so that helps. [It’s] just that mental break as well I think – the travelling and being in that competitive mode every three days for a full season,” he added.
“I don’t think you feel it at the time but sometimes when you step out of that or maybe at the end of the season when you feel how you feel then – a bit more refreshed – you think ‘How have I been in that mode?’
“Whereas with the international break, it’s 10 days where I don’t have a competitive fixture to worry about. It just gives you that bit of respite.
“You’re obviously training hard, but you have heard so many people talk about it prolonging their club careers – and it’s not only a physical thing, I think it’s a mental thing in giving you that time to switch off and feel fully refreshed.
“Saying that, representing your country is a massive thing and something I always thoroughly enjoyed and did with great honour.”