Milner ready for 'biggest game'
Midfielder hopes for another good performance against Germans
By James Riach. Last Updated: June 26, 2010 10:53am
Milner: Ready for Germany
England midfielder James Milner admits he is ready for the 'biggest game of his career' against Germany.
The 24-year-old Aston Villa man is expected to line up for the Three Lions in Bloemfontein on Sunday, after impressing in the 1-0 win over Slovenia.
After a slow start to the final Group C clash, Milner grew into the tie and produced a number of excellent crosses from the right, most notably the ball which led to Jermain Defoe's first-half goal.
Now the Leeds-born player must raise his game once more against the Germans, and he says is relishing the task in hand.
"I would say it is the biggest game of my career. It is definitely up there," he told FATV.
"You are very lucky to be playing in a World Cup for your country.
"Each game is the biggest game. Now it's the knockout stages and Germany is a massive game at whatever level - from Under-16s right through to the full squad.
"There is a great occasion and history about the fixture.
"We played Germany in the (Under-21) European Championships and were unlucky in the final. Things didn't quite go for us, and we didn't perform as well as we could.
"They were a good team, organised, pretty good going forward.
"Germany scored a few goals on the break when we were going forward, but they moved the ball around well as you've seen in this tournament.
"It will be a tough game on Sunday but, for those of us involved in the Under-21s last year, it would be good to get one back on them and set the record straight."
Pressure had been mounting on England before their victory over Slovenia, after lacklustre displays against the USA and Algeria.
The Algeria performance was particularly disappointing, and although Milner did not play in that fixture, he knew it was time to deliver against the Slovenians on Wednesday.
"In the dressing room before the game, we knew it was time to deliver," he added.
"Before that, maybe we had been a bit too uptight and desperate to do well. We are still desperate to do well but maybe we were a bit more relaxed and maybe that helps.
"We are into the tournament now, we're through the group and hopefully that can help us kick on.
"I suppose you play your best football when you are enjoying your football and you are relaxed and hopefully we can do that."
As regards setting up the goal, Milner remarked: "It was important to get the goal in the first half.
"It helped to settle us down and opened up the game slightly because they had to come out rather than sit back.
"To have a part in the goal was fantastic. It was a great finish for Jermain.
"The ball is not that easy to control if it's a long ball or a cross and it was a great finish."