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Tuesday 12 December 2017

James Milner rules out reversing decision to quit England despite fine Reds form

In-form Liverpool star James Milner says he has no plans to make an England comeback
In-form Liverpool star James Milner says he has no plans to make an England comeback

James Milner has ruled out reversing his decision to quit England despite starring in Liverpool's impressive start to the season.

Milner called time on his 61-cap international career in August following talks with then-England manager Sam Allardyce.

Since then the 30-year-old midfielder has been reinvented as an all-action left-back, and his fourth successful penalty of the season on Saturday secured a 2-1 comeback victory at Swansea to take Liverpool in to second spot in the Premier League.

But Milner has no plans to resurrect his international career following the shock departure of Allardyce after he was secretly filmed making a variety of controversial comments.

"I think I made the decision at the time that was best for everyone," Milner said.

"I am also playing left-back at the moment and there are a number of very good left-backs who would be ahead of me.

"I think it is still the right decision. It is massively disappointing for Sam because he did a good job, but Gareth (Southgate) did well with the Under-21s and will have a lot of respect from the players."

Milner showed late composure from 12 yards again as his third penalty in two games secured a fourth straight Premier League victory for Liverpool.

Swansea controlled the early stages and were rewarded with a Leroy Fer tap-in, but Liverpool dominated following the break after manager Jurgen Klopp made his feelings clearly known at the interval.

"The manager, big credit, came in at half-time and had a few choice words," Milner said.

"We knew it ourselves but it got us going second half.

"The first half was really poor. There is only one word for it. It is frustrating as a team when things are not going right, but it's not like we were complacent.

"It just didn't happen, but we deserved the three points. It is pleasing that we had the character to turn it round and keep going to get the win.

"I think this win was massive going into the international break on the back of a little run, because signing off with a draw or defeat would have been a bit disappointing and halted that momentum."

While Klopp will celebrate his first anniversary on Merseyside next weekend in a healthy position, the future of Swansea manager Francesco Guidolin looks increasingly bleak with no league win since the opening day of the season.

Swansea's American owners Steve Kaplan and Jason Levien were at the Liberty Stadium on Saturday and it is understood the club's hierarchy are considering a change of manager with Ryan Giggs and former United States boss Bob Bradley among the favourites to succeed Guidolin.

But defender Mike van der Hoorn believes Guidolin should be allowed more time after a tough run of fixtures which has included Chelsea, Manchester City and Liverpool in Swansea's last four games.

"At the moment it is not looking great, but our schedule is not that easy," said van der Hoorn, with Swansea only above the relegation zone on goal difference.

"I think a lot of teams would have problems with this schedule.

"We need to hold on (to the manager), keep improving, and wait for the games against opponents like us.

"Every clubs says what should happen when you have these results, but I think we have to stay like this and keep looking forward."

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