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How important is James Milner to Manchester City?

James Milner Manchester City

There has been much talk of whether or not James Milner will get a new Manchester City contract and Lewis Addley explores his importance to the side…

James Milner has been enjoying some of the best form of his career and certainly his best performances for Manchester City in recent times.

Milner has featured 22 times in the Premier League so far this season and as well as scoring the important equalising goal against Hull City two weeks ago, he also netted in the 4-1 win at Stoke. He now has five goals in all competitions, including one in the Champions League.

His contract is due to expire at the end of this season and it isn’t clear yet whether or not it will be renewed, though Manuel Pellegrini has been quick to praise the 29-year-old midfielder already this season.

“James is a very important player for our team. Knowing the way he thinks we will see the same Milner with a contract or without a contract. He is a great professional,” the City boss said.

The former Aston Villa and Newcastle man is a doubt for Manchester City’s game against the Magpies this weekend as well as their Champions League tie against Barcelona next Tuesday, and he will be missed in both of those games.

Milner is a tremendous utility player and can play as a right-back as well as numerous midfield positions. He can comfortably play on either wing, or even as the playmaker in behind the striker as he did so effectively at Stoke in the Citizens’ last game.

Milner covered more ground than any other player this season during that game as he ran an incredible 13.56km over the course of 90 minutes, deservedly picking up a goal and an assist for his efforts.

Numerous Premier League clubs would be interested in signing James Milner if he is to leave City in the summer and it would be a loss to the reigning champions as he is one of their most effective midfielders.

James Milner's Premier League stats compared to Manchester City's other attacking midfielders (stats via Squawka)

James Milner’s Premier League stats compared to Manchester City’s other attacking midfielders (stats via Squawka)

Pellegrini has opted to play Milner in a number of big games already this season and needs the England international back to fitness as they face the difficult task of clawing back the difference in the race for the title.

Milner will be required even more so next season as City will lose Frank Lampard this summer as he is set to make his MLS move to New York City FC in July, when his contract expires.

The performances of Milner have certainly shown his desire to earn a new contract and he has a lot to offer the City side. His tenacity and desire to work hard for his team makes Milner one of the most unsung heroes in this Manchester City side and they would likely struggle without him.

Is Milner too important for Manchester City to lose this summer?

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About Lewis Addley (593 Articles)
Major League Soccer and Premier League reporter. Sub-editor, writer and Social Media manager for MLSGB. All views are my own.

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