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Former Manchester City defender turned Micah Richards has identified a key trait of James Milner, which could be crucial in this year’s title race. Liverpool are still top of the table as they defend their crown but only on goal difference. The Reds are currently level on points with fierce rivals Manchester United.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side could be three points ahead of the champions by the time they travel to Anfield on Sunday after they play their game in hand against Burnley on Tuesday evening.
Speaking in his column for BBC Sport, he said: “Milner’s not a genius on the ball like David Silva – but who is? He won’t beat two men and put it in the top corner either. But he is a player who is good at everything rather than brilliant at one thing – he can pick a pass, tackle and shoot with either foot.
“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.
“Milner can do it all, but that’s not the only reason he has had a long and successful career.”
However, while Milner has brought a wealth of talent since signing for the Reds on a free transfer, Richards believes the most important quality he brings to the team is the ability to inspire those around him.
“His mindset is astonishing; he never has a day off,” Richards said. “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.”