James Milner: I remember the day the world stood still



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Posted Wednesday, March 20, 2013 by The Sun

James Milner: I remember the day the world stood still
MINNOW WOE ... James Milner promises no repeat of San Marino humiliation of 1993

JAMES MILNER can remember the moment the football world stopped.

And the England star has promised there will be no repeat of the humiliating moment San Marino scored against the Three Lions after just 8.3 SECONDS.

Davide Gualtieri wrote himself into the Guinness Book of Records on November 17, 1993 when he seized on to a poor back-pass from Stuart Pearce before scoring.

Milner was aged just seven and, two decades on, heads to the tiny nation for Friday’s World Cup qualifier. The Manchester City midfielder said: “I remember the goal.

“It was after about eight seconds.

“It was one of those moments when everything seemed to stand still. It just went deathly quiet.

“I don’t know how many years ago it was — but I was sat in front of the telly.

“I expected it to be a good game to watch and, after eight seconds, it was 1-0 to them.

“Hopefully that will not happen on Friday. We will be ready to go and hopefully will be the ones to get the early goal.

James Milner: I remember the day the world stood still
8.3 SECONDS OF DESPAIR ... San Marino take the lead through Davide Gualtieri in 1993 World Cup qualifier

“Everyone expects us to win and we have to make sure we do the job from the first second to the last second.

“We must concentrate and push forward — but making sure we do not leave the door open at the back.

“We want to build on clean sheets. This is the base we started from at the Euros and we now keep the ball better.

“We have had more possession than every team we have played since the Euros so it is a sign we are moving in the right direction.”

England struggled against 207th ranked San Marino in October, needing a 35th-minute penalty from Wayne Rooney before cruising to a 5-0 win.

He said: “These games are never easy. People say we will beat San Marino 8-0 but it never happens like that.

“It is international football. When a team sets up to defend from the first minute with all the play behind the ball, it is not easy to get a breakthrough.

“San Marino are a team who, if they go down 1-0 down, they will not push for an equaliser.

“They’ll stick to their guns so it is important we work hard on our attacking
play.

“We need to work out how we can break them down and ease the tension and then enjoy ourselves.

“That’s when you play your best football and hopefully we can score a lot of goals.”

England head to their Italian base tomorrow — and they will remain there until
Monday before flying to Podgorica for the trip with group leaders Montenegro.

The two away matches could not be more different in terms of difficulty.

Milner, 27, said: “Every game is big for England — whether it is a friendly or a qualifier — but especially these two, as they are away trips. We need to make sure we concentrate on San Marino first.

“We know if we play anything like our best we should get a positive result.

“We have to make sure we go there and do that and concentrate fully. Then it’s a tough trip to Montenegro.

“We know it well. We have been there before.

“It will be tough but if we play to our potential and keep improving I am sure we will get two positive results.

“It would put us in a good position for the next two games.”

Joleon Lescott has returned to the England squad due to the problems in central defence. Milner has no doubts his City team-mate will deliver.

He said: “We are blessed to have a lot of players in the centre-half position although it is disappointing not to have Rio for this trip.

“I think the players we have are more than capable of doing a job.

“Joleon is a top professional — I spend a lot of time with him.

“He prepares every single day for training really well — his strength work, conditioning.

“He has had some injuries earlier in his career but he has managed those every single day with his preparation work.

“He has done that spot on and is a top, top, top professional. It does not change his attitude.

“He is ready and raring to go. Whenever he has played for us he has been brilliant.”

Asked why Lescott has not been picked more by Roberto Mancini, Milner said: “
That is a question for the manager but we are blessed to have a strong squad at Manchester City.

“The competition for places is always there and only the boss can decide that.

“But when I’ve seen him play, he’s been strong — outstanding. He’s experienced, a top player.”

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