When Liverpool signed Man City midfielder James Milner, it was met with an odd reaction.
The Reds had just lost arguably their greatest ever player in Steven Gerrard, and the season before they had lost the world-class Luis Suarez. They were looking for a replacement for these figures, and perhaps Milner did not fit the bill at the time for some fans.
For all the glamour that Gerrard and Suarez provided, Milner brought industry and grit. The fans were crying out for someone different. Some supporters saw him as an average player that would use up Liverpool’s wages, others saw him as past his prime.
The former Leeds man took a pay cut to join The Reds, but that still wasn’t enough to win over some fans.
This is what they had to say:
— hugo (@Hugobossdre) June 4, 2015
@LFC hope he doesn’t turn out to be another Joe cole
— Absar un Nabi (@agent00000008) June 5, 2015
— Rashid (@HRashid_) June 4, 2015
@LFC WHY DO THIS!!!! MORE AVERAGE PLAYERS!
— Nathan McKay (@N_Mckay99) June 4, 2015
@LFC I’m sure delighted is the word
— Kyle Hawkins (@87KyleHawkins) June 4, 2015
@LFC Yeah that replaces Suarez & Gerrard..
— Mohamed K. Ateeq (@ATEEKSTER) June 4, 2015
@LFC isn’t he, like, past his prime?
— Ali Saba (@AlicusOfficial) June 4, 2015
— Craigyboy (@craigyboy_1991) June 4, 2015
However, this only tells half the story. There were certainly a large group of fans that were happy with this signing.
Fans were quick to praise the work rate of Milner, and described him as one of the most consistent players in the Premier League, who was integral to Man City’s title winning campaigns.
His versatility was also noted by supporters, something that has defined him at the club, particularly when he became The Red’s first choice left-back for a season.
This is what the fans had to say:
@LFC good signing good work rate
— Michael Mc Grade (@mjmcgrademi) June 4, 2015
@LFC Welcome to Liverpool James Milner! Great signing for the club. Will add much needed experience, passion, fight and ability to the side.
— Pete (@Pete2482) June 4, 2015
@LFC what are great signing this is for Liverpool. Well done Brendan
— King Eric (@EricEllie) June 4, 2015
@LFC why are people mocking this? Milner was a key part for City last season
— Will | Envy (@Envyscape) June 4, 2015
— jimmy kidmate (@jimmy_kidmate) June 4, 2015
In recent weeks, he has become the third man to play over 100 Premier League games for three different clubs (Aston Villa, Man City, Liverpool), as well as levelling David Beckham on assists in the league with 80.
It looks as though he has now won over the fans that would have once been sceptical over this signing. Everyone on social media is praising the career of the midfielder, describing him as one of the most underrated players in the league’s history.
The 32-year-old is now tied in seventh place for most assists in Premier League history, and only needs to get 12 more to match Liverpool legend Steven Gerrard.
Entering his fourth season at Anfield, he has taken the club to League Cup, Europa League and Champions League finals, as well as captaining the club. It is fair to say that he has gone a long way in proving many of the dismissive fans wrong.
This is what the fans now have to say:
Premier leagues greatest midfielder
— Musa Seedat (@MusaSeedat) September 2, 2018
Millie is a legend and core professional, what a milestone. Congrats
— AFOLAYAN Olu Abraham (@holuafolayan) September 1, 2018
Massively underrated player.
— polo (@p0loh) September 1, 2018
What a baller!
— Abdulraheem (@RaheemDanyaro) September 2, 2018
Every single week I’m still surprised at how good he actually is
— Febo Frenkie (@febofrenkie) September 1, 2018
Definition of a workhorse, if only he still played for England
— Jack Jennings (@Jack14AV) September 1, 2018
Absolutely brilliant pro. Loved him at villa. The last game he played for us before he left for Liverpool was one of his best ever, shows what the guy is all about. Model professional.
— Steven Sanders (@stevo2183) September 1, 2018
— Thiago (@ThizinoZ) September 1, 2018