Alan Smith compares Jordan Henderson to James Milner at international level

The former Arsenal forward thinks Henderson is looked upon in the same vein as Manchester City's James Milner.

Former Arsenal striker Alan Smith has compared Liverpool midfielder Jordan Henderson to James Milner of Manchester City when it comes to performing for their countries. 

Henderson had a terrific season at Liverpool last season as he became an integral part of Brendan Rodgers' side, but hasn't endured the best of times this season, whilst Milner's contribution to whichever side he has played in seems to go unnoticed.

Smith thinks that both of them may not be appreciated at international level like they may be for their clubs, writing in a column for the Daily Telegraph:

"Milner has suffered this way plenty of times in the past, particularly for England when supporters hanker for pace and flair from their wide men, not simply an ability to get up and down within the framework of a disciplined performance. There is, of course, much more to Milner than that, a fact unquestionably confirmed by some incredibly effective displays for Manchester City.

"Likewise, Henderson’s vast improvement last season in a Liverpool shirt gained plenty of admirers beyond Merseyside. Against all expectations, the midfielder looked set, not just for a successful club career, but for a long stint with England as a provider of energy, enthusiasm and steady passing in a team well stocked with the more crowd-pleasing stuff.

"Yet when things go wrong, as they did against Slovenia on Saturday, Henderson tends to stand out, attract a torrent of criticism. The obvious whipping boy for fan discontent, he gets singled out in a way some others wouldn’t. The Milner way perhaps: seen as a decent Premier League player but not up to this level, lacking the necessary wit and guile for the international stage."

This comes back to the old adage of 'why can't he perform for his country like he does for his club?' The answers are relatively simple, working under a different manager, playing with different players and trying to adapt to a different team.

Henderson may have suffered from a slight loss of form this season but still has terrific ability - but like for his club, he will be an easy target if things go round. The same can be said of Milner, who must have something about him if two different managers have called upon him in games for a side that has won the Premier League twice in the past three seasons.

Despite featuring for England on more than 50 occasions, critics of Milner have said he hasn't really performed for his country, but those who have watched the midfielder closely will point to the fact that England really haven't found a role for him within the side.

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