Jurgen Klopp has hailed James Milner for his age-defying performances at Liverpool – and has revealed how his “dirty teamtalks” symbolise inspire his teammates.
The 33-year-old midfielder is known as one of the fittest players in the Premier League – anyone who saw this video can testify as he is seen outrunning Joe Gomez on the first day of pre-season training.
Now about to enter his fifth season at Liverpool since arriving on a free transfer from Manchester City, Klopp – who has been tipped to hand Milner a new deal – admits the player is one of the most professional he has worked with.
“There have not been many,” he told the Liverpool’s official website from the club’s pre-season training base in Indiana, USA.
“I was blessed to have a few players like this; Sebastian Kehl, for example, at Dortmund was a more experienced player in a very young team and was a leader in that team, like Millie is. And I think Millie improved his football a lot in the last two or three years as well.
“His attitude is outstanding. Millie is a sports guy, in each sport he is doing he is brilliant. Without Millie it wouldn’t have been possible.”
Milner, who counts Leeds, Newcastle, Aston Villa and Newcastle among his previous clubs, came on as a substitute in the Champions League final and knows the player is one of the club’s outstanding leaders – and even highlighted his colourful language in post-match teamtalks.
“His kind of a little bit dirty dressing-room talks, I cannot do, these things you say in the dressing room that I am not allowed to say in public. That’s the last little kick and that’s nice,” Klopp contined.
“We have so many leaders in the team: Hendo [Jordan Henderson] of course, Millie of course, Gini [Wijnaldum], Virg [Van Dijk], all these guys, they are in a different way all leaders. They know what to do and they will know it for a new season.
“Millie looks again in the pre-season like [he’s in] in his early 20s; but he isn’t, he knows that, and we try to respect that. But he is not only in the game not really stoppable, in training it’s the same. All good.”
Get the latest personalised Reds products on our new TEAMtalk Liverpool shop!