Milner hails Becks influence
England star backs Beckham role
Last Updated: June 25, 2010 1:30pm
England star James Milner has hailed the influence of former national team David Beckham.
Beckham missed out on a chance of playing at the World Cup finals after injuring his Achilles whilst playing for AC Milan earlier this year.
He was invited to be part of Fabio Capello's backroom staff and his presence looks to have been a major plus point.
Now Milner has paid tribute to Beckham's previous influence and his current impact on the squad.
"Since I've come into the England squad over the past year or so, I've been with Beckham a lot and watched him in training," Milner told The Sun.
"Then, before a game, he'll come over and have a chat and say what he thinks about the game and give you the odd word of advice.
"It's fantastic to have a player of his quality and experience about the place, to give the wide players and everyone else a lift.
"And if David is proud of my cross for Jermain, then that's great.
"It was nice to contribute and it was a good finish from Jermain because we've worked a lot on crossing and finishing.
"Credit to him too. There has been a lot of talk about the ball being difficult for keepers and defenders.
"But it's not easy to get on the end of the crosses either. The ball is moving around a lot - so it was a good finish from Jermain."
Milner returned to the England team against Slovenia and he produced a Man of the Match display as he set up the only goal of the game for Jermain Defoe.
The Aston Villa star was substituted after just half-an-hour of England's opener due to an illness he had picked up just days earlier.
"The first game was disappointing for me. When you don't train for three days, and you lose a lot of weight before a World Cup, it's not great timing. I wasn't feeling 100 per cent," he said.
"Once I was booked, the manager thought it was right to sub me.
"It was disappointing but it's not about personal issues and how I feel, it's about what's best for England. So it was the right decision. But I would've been devastated had that been my last contribution here in South Africa.
"It's my first World Cup and you don't imagine coming off after half-an-hour in your first game.
"Yet to get a second chance to start in a big game and contribute to a win was brilliant.
"We knew it was a massive day, a big game and what we needed to do. So to go out there and do it, and be part of the performance, was great."
Milner says the confidence in the camp ahead of Sunday's last 16 clash with Germany is now really high.
"We've had a good few days training, we were very sharp and had a few good days together with a few activities," he said.
"We had a quiz the other night, which was good fun and everyone was involved. We had a good laugh.
"Liverpool won. We were in teams and Jamie Carragher's knowledge of footy did it for them.
"So we're all feeling pretty happy and went into the game relaxed. And the last few days have brought us closer together.
"When things aren't going well, that's when you have to pull together and it's make-or-break. And the longer you are together and the further you get, you come together more."