No penalty fear for Milner
England midfielder vows to step forward
Last Updated: November 11, 2009 8:17pm
Milner: Willing penalty taker
James Milner has insisted he would take a penalty for England if required at the World Cup next summer.
Milner could not score from the spot in the European Under 21 Championship match against Sweden in June, while he has failed twice for Aston Villa in the Premier League this season.
The pressure of stepping forward in a shoot-out at football's biggest tournament would be even greater but Milner maintains that he will always have the courage and confidence to volunteer.
"I'll definitely be up for taking a penalty at the World Cup. I'll always put myself forward for penalties," he said.
"I know I've had a bit of a bad time recently. It is one of those things. It is how you bounce back from that.
"It's one of those things happening at Villa at the moment. Whoever is taking them, the penalties just don't seem to be going in. We've missed three or four this season.
"But I've got confidence and scored a few penalties before this bad run, believe it or not. Everyone has bad runs. It is about how you come through the other side."
Milner believes the experience of taking penalties in big games will stand him in good stead if the opportunity does arise.
He explained: "I wouldn't be put off by the pressure of a World Cup. What prepares you are youth and Under 21 tournaments for England and the Premier League. Those are pressure situations anyway.
"I've taken a few in the Under 21s. In the previous European Championships tournament when we went to a penalty shoot-out (against Holland) I scored them both.
"Maybe those sort of tournaments are not quite the same in terms of pressure of a World Cup semi-final or final, but it's having the practice of being in a similar situation."
Milner is regarded as a versatile player who can perform well in a number of positions and he feels that could give him an edge when it comes to Fabio Capello naming his final squad.
"It might help. There is a lot of competition for places, a lot of quality players. Any little thing that helps you is obviously a good thing," he said.
"There is a lot of quality in every position and, when you get into tournament football, you are going to have injuries and suspensions so that might help and, if it helps, then great.
"When I was growing up, I always seemed to play on the right or centre-midfield. I played upfront a bit at Leeds and it is about learning as you go."
Milner added: "It depends how you look at being moved into a position. You can sulk and say you are not going to really enjoy it and things like that or you can learn that position to the best of your ability.
"If you do that, and learn what you can, it should make you a better and more rounded player and help you understand the game a bit more."