Milner seeking guarantee of game time in deal stand-off
JAMES MILNER is keeping Manchester City sweating over his future as he enters the final year of his contract with the Premier League champions.
Milner (28) was a key player in last season's title run-in but feels he should be playing even more regularly at this stage of his career.
City have made Milner's re-signing a priority and have made him a good offer as they value him as a player. The fact that he is English is also considered a plus point given their Financial Fair Play considerations.
They can only name 17 (out of up to 25) non-homegrown players for their league squad and currently have 18. Javi Garcia is said to be the most likely player to be moved on to fulfil the quota.
They are limited to 16 out of 21 (due to FFP restrictions) foreign players for the Champions League.
Milner, who has 47 England caps, could sign at any stage, but he has indicated he wants to go into his final year and see how it develops.
He said: "It's a great club to be at. I enjoy every minute and winning trophies, but you want to play as much as you can. The more I can play, that's better for myself.
"Basically I want to be here – as long as I'm playing. I love it here and hopefully I can be here for a long time to come.
"But that's determined on how much football I get. I just want to feel like I'm contributing. I played a fair amount last year – maybe not as many in the league as I would have liked, but I felt I contributed to the trophies I won. That's what it's about.
"I think at the end of the season when you win trophies and you haven't played as much as you wanted it can be frustrating. But that wasn't the case last year and hopefully it won't be this season either."
Milner made his return to action after the World Cup in City's 2-2 draw with Liverpool at a packed Yankee Stadium in New York on Wednesday night.
Liverpool won on penalties, but the important thing for Milner was to be playing again. He added: "You just want to get into it, get your running done. Pre-season isn't really a time any player likes but it was good to get out there and get 45 minutes in.
"There's not much of a break after a World Cup. You need a rest but on the other hand it doesn't take you too much time to get back in the swing of things.
"It seems so long ago, both times we've won the league we had major tournaments with England in the summer to concentrate on. You can't celebrate as you'd like.
"It's all behind us now and we focus on the new season, we know how hard it's going to be, we know how strong the other teams are. But it's up to us to go again and try to retain that title." (© Daily Telegraph, London)