Southgate names the player he tried to coax out of retirement for World Cup
Gareth Southgate has confirmed he spoke to James Milner to play for England in the World Cup - but the midfielder reiterated to him he made the right decision in retiring.
Milner won 61 caps for the Three Lions after making his senior debut in 2009 but decided to retire from international duty to focus on his club career two years ago.
This season the 32-year-old has enjoyed a campaign to remember, and has been a stand-out player in Liverpool's tremendous run to the Champions League final.
Jurgen Klopp's men beat Roma 7-6 on aggregate over two legs in the semi-final of the competition, in which Milner set a Champions League record in the first match.
After setting up Roberto Firmino to score from a corner at Anfield, Milner registered his ninth assist for the season in Europe, meaning he has now created more goals than any other player in the history of the competition in a single campaign.
In his wake are the likes of Wayne Rooney, Neymar, Firmino and Ryan Giggs.
Naturally Southgate enquired Milner's availability before deciding on his 23-man squad for the 2018 World Cup in Russia.
He said: "Milner has retired from international football, but he's had a really good season.
"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."