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James Milner turned down place in England’s World Cup squad, says Gareth Southgate

James Milner
Image: Liverpool FC via Getty Images

Gareth Southgate says he spoke to Liverpool midfielder about playing in the World Cup, despite the Englishman retiring from international football.

Milner, who has 61 appearances for the Three Lions, decided to retire from international duty to elongate his club career over two years ago.

The 32-year-old is reaping the rewards of extended rests during international games since then and has enjoyed a campaign to remember, helping Liverpool reach the final of the Champions League.

The Reds face on May 26 and the former man has played a crucial role in their run in the competition so far.

Milner’s assist for against at Anfield was his ninth for the season in Europe, meaning he has created more goals than any other player in a single campaign in the history of the competition.

England manager Southgate confirmed he asked Milner to join the squad in Russia, only to be given the same answer by the Reds vice-captain.

He said: "Milner has retired from international football, but he's had a really good season.

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"I spoke to him when I first took the job and he assured me he was happy with his decision and I have not seen any reason which would suggest otherwise."

Fellow Liverpool teammates and have been included in Southgate’s 23-man squad.

Milner missed Liverpool’s last Premier League game against on Sunday as a precautionary measure after suffering a muscle injury.

He is expected to make a recovery in time for the final in Kiev, where he is likely to start in a midfield role alongside and .

After the first session of Liverpool’s training camp in Spain, Klopp told Liverpoolfc.com: “James is in the group and will be back in training later – I think on Saturday or so we will see, or maybe Friday.”

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