Milner steps out as a Liverpool player for the first time in their pre-season tour in Thailand on Tuesday after opting to leave City where he endured a frustrating five years trying to secure a starting place in the team.
“I thought at times at City I won Player of the Month and then didn’t play for three, four or five games after,” Milner told The Independent. “I feel here [Liverpool] if I play well, I’ll keep the shirt. It’s down to me.
“That role of filling in, more when other people aren’t available, playing all over the field; I don’t think it lets you show your best football.
“They (City) saw me as a big part of the club. However, when we come to it, getting to finals and things like that, the default was for me not to play. That’s the way it was and I want to play as much as I can.”
Milner has also refuted suggestions that leaving the Etihad Stadium represents a lack of ambition, adding: “I wouldn’t say so because I was at Man City for five years, I signed a contract for five years and I played for them for five years – I played every single position except for centre midfield so if that’s a lack of willing to fight for your place, then…
“The last year the manager knew my contract was running down but he played me right to the last games of the season, so that shows what the club thought of me, and how much I gave to that club, and the fight I gave to that club.
“So, I would probably disagree. I wanted to play every single game and fight for a shirt and play that way, and I couldn’t see that happening at Man City.”
At Liverpool, Milner feels he can recapture the form he showed in 2009-10 at Aston Villa where he scored 12 goals in 49 appearances.
“You get labelled as a player – and I’m ‘Boring James Milner’, that’s the way it is,” he said. “But I feel as though I can go and play like I did in that season at Aston Villa. I feel I am a better player now than I was then. So it’s a perfect opportunity to go and kick on with great players around me at a great club.”