Newcastle’s James Milner, our 21-year-old winger, holds the record for the most number of Under-21 caps â€“ currently standing at 32.
That number is also likely to increase since James, like captain Steven Taylor, are eligible to play for England Under-21s until the final of the current European Under-21 tournament, which end in the summer of 2009.
James Milner – only goals missing from his game
Newcastleâ€™s manager Sam Allardyce has told James to concentrate on his club form so as to make an impression on current England manager Steve McClaren, who takes in quite a lot of Newcastle games, from his home base in Middlesbrough.
Big Sam talked to the Sunday Sun today about James:
â€œIt would be a shame having been an England Under-21 cap record-holder if James doesnâ€™t progress to the full England squad,â€ â€œThereâ€™s still time for him.”Â “The only reason you play for your country is because you play well for your club, and the more your club is successful, the more chance youâ€™ve got of playing for your international side.â€
â€œThat goes for anybody who plays international football worldwide. If players arenâ€™t playing well at club level itâ€™s very rare that theyâ€™ll get selected for their international team.
â€œTheyâ€™ve got to want to be on top of their game for Newcastle United, and for us to be successful, but every player wants to play for his country.Â â€œIf they want to do that they have to be successful for us, and get the national coach to pick them for their country.â€
We think James is good enough to make the full England side, but he needs to add more goals to his repertoire. Certainly the 5 goals he has scored in the last two seasons have been just outstanding individual efforts, but more goals are needed from him at this level.
We also have to say we are completely mystified why Big Sam plays Milner on the left and Nâ€™Zogbia on the right when they both play together. Sam had them on opposite wings again yesterday. Anybody who has any logic for this switch â€“ weâ€™d certainly like to know.
We’ve already heard the one about trying to make them both complete wingers so they can play on either side. But what we need right now are players playing where they play best. It seems that Nâ€™Zogbia is a natural left winger â€“ so why donâ€™t we play him there?
Comments always very welcome.