Why Manchester City should cash in on England midfielder

Manchester City Stand

James Milner says he wants more game time at the Etihad Stadium.

But is the 28-year-old in any position to make such requests?

Milner has admitted that he wants to remain at Manchester City for a 'long time to come,' although that depends solely on how much first-team football he is given. Last season, the England midfielder made 31 appearances in the Premier League for Manuel Pellegrini's men - but that only amounted to 1,358 minutes.

“Basically, I want to be here – as long as I’m playing," Milner said.

“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 like I contributed to the trophies I won. That’s what it’s about."

If feeling like he contributes is that important to Milner, though, perhaps Man City would be wise to consider letting him go. The 28-year-old had been linked with a move to both Liverpool and Arsenal earlier this summer but the noise soon died down.

For now, Milner looks as though he will stay at City for the forthcoming campaign. But do they really need him?

  Goals / appAssists / appTackles Won / appAccurate Crosses / appAccurate Passes / appAppsMins
Yaya Touré 0.57 0.26 1.06 0.09 64.43 35 2,927
David Silva 0.26 0.33 0.96 1.19 61.04 27 2,173
Samir Nasri 0.21 0.24 0.97 1.94 51.12 34 2,498
Fernandinho 0.15 0.09 2.15 0.09 45.00 33 2,608
Jesús Navas 0.13 0.23 0.93 1.53 29.30 30 1,774
James Milner 0.03 0.13 0.90 0.58 20.32 31 1,358
Javi García 0 0 0.72 0.03 30.59 29 1,527
Jack Rodwell 0 0 0.40 0 8.20 5 109

As Opta stats show, Milner's lack of regular playing time did not allow him to develop any sort of rhythm in last season's Premier League. In almost every department, he ranked worse than most of his midfield counterparts, scoring less, assisting less, tacking less, crossing less and averaging less accurate passes. The list goes on.

He did, of course, influence several games coming off the bench - and helped Manchester City memorably beat Bayern Munich at the Allianz Arena in the Champions League. Overall, though, can Milner's contribution really be said to be worth that much to City, especially when their long list of midfielders just keeps growing?

Fernando is the latest midfield man to have moved to the Etihad Stadium and, with every new recruit, the pressure grows on the likes of Milner to deliver something special whenever they are on the pitch.

If it is first-team football Milner wants, then, City should cash in on the England man. There are plenty of Premier League sides where he could get it. Gareth Barry's move to Everton serves as the perfect example.

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