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2013/14 Player Ratings: James Milner

James Milner; he's cooler than you
James Milner; he's cooler than you
Clive Rose

James Milner (27 appearances [12 starts]): 7/10

There's a lot one can say about James Milner. The usual lines read something like backhanded compliments: he's the perfect squad player, he's industrious with an engine-like work rate and he's physical. All true certainly, but that fails to tell the whole story. In truth, James Milner is a brilliant footballer. He combines the physicality of England with the technical ability of the continent; he can tackle better than any midfielder on the team (and both left-backs); he can pass, cross and finish (see: Munich, Bayern); and he has the tactical acumen to play almost any role required.

And now he wants to leave.

And while it's understandable, really -- after all, he's better than a substitute/squad player and he's won every English trophy he can -- it would be a huge blow to this Club. He's surely one of the better character types in the dressing room and is rarely injured. He's never complained and never agitated for a bigger role.

He scored the aforementioned winner against Bayern in the Allianz and it was only after his introduction at the break that City's fortunes turned the match that many assumed would be the title decider at Anfield. He won the "winger" spot from Navas in the starting XI in the event that one of Nasri or Silva were unavailable -- and after the Spaniard's arrival in the summer, that seems almost unthinkable.

In the end, a smart season for Milner -- a player City would certainly struggle to replace.