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Players could quit due to pressure - Milner
Published : 06 Sep 2010 06:40:00
James Milner fears some England stars may eventually quit the international scene completely due to the intense focus on their private life. Wayne Rooney is the latest big name to be hit by lurid allegations over his private life, the latest in a miserable line that includes John Terry, Ashley Cole and Peter Crouch this year alone. Such is the fascination with stories of this nature, it seems unlikely the quest for information will lessen any time soon. And, while Milner is happy to live his life in the spotlight, he would understand if others did not think the same way. "Every individual is different," reflected Milner. "I would rather be under pressure because it means that things are going in the right direction on the football field. "But some people might turn round and say, 'I have had enough, I don't need that'. "Obviously thousands of people come every week and there are kids with your name on the back of their shirt. "They obviously look up to you so you try to set standards on and off the field. "We are very privileged to be representing this country and whatever job you do there will be things you like and things you don't." Although there was some speculation that Rooney would return home to try to patch up his relationship with wife Coleen, it now seems certain Rooney will travel to Basel on Monday morning ahead of Tuesday's Euro 2012 qualifier with Switzerland. Football Association officials have insisted it is "business as usual" regarding the 24-year-old, who showed sure signs of a return to top form against Bulgaria on Friday, claiming three assists after having a hand in England's first goal in a fine 4-0 win. Despite going 11 internationals since he last found the net for his country, Rooney remains a key figure. And Milner has no doubt Rooney is capable of ending that barren run in style. "I am a player, but I am a fan as well - I want the best possible team out there for England," he said. "He showed what a player he is on Friday. Hopefully he can go out and get a hat-trick on Tuesday." Quite aside from his ability, Roney's willingness to work is appreciated by his team-mates, with Milner quick to pay tribute to the Manchester United man's contribution against Bulgaria. "He was brilliant on Friday," he said. "He brought players into the game and made a lot of goals. "It is very hard to score the number of goals he has and be as unselfish as well." Rooney may have his problems just now but to Milner he remains a model to aspire to. Born in the same school year, Milner's career has tended to be overshadowed by the Liverpudlian, even though he was the one who played in the Premier League for Leeds at a slightly younger age. "He shone through," said Milner. "He rose so quickly and took all the spotlight with wonderkid status. "He was one of the brightest prospects in the world and over the past few years he has proved it. "Maybe it did deflect from me but he set the standards. If you want to be the best player, you need to match what he has done and exceed it if possible. "Thoe are the targets you have to aim for." Amid the account of his alleged dalliance was another reference to Rooney's fondness for cigarettes. Although a crafty fag is not unheard of, particularly on the continent, it still seems a rather strange habit for a professional sportsman to have. Certainly Milner is unlikely to empathise given he is completely tee-total. "I would never do anything to affect my football, even if it was playing golf too close to a game or something like that," he said. "Football always comes first with me. "I just decided not to drink when I was growing up. "There is nothing wrong with it. There is a time and a place for everything. "I just felt it was something I never really needed or wanted to do. "If it could help me as a footballer I would do it."