James Milner: Get your head in the game

Hone your visualisation skills to ensure that you’re ready for kick-off, says Liverpool’s utility man

“Every week I prepare properly for my match, but I lose focus on the morning of the game. Is there anything I can do to change this?”
Christie Murray, via Twitter

More after the break

James Milner says:

“Don’t think about the game constantly. It’s important to get the balance right. Two days before the game, think about who you’re playing against.

If you know you’re playing at right-back and you’ll be facing someone like Eden Hazard, get his habits in your mind – the sort of runs he makes; which foot he uses.

I visualise possible situations. For example, if my opponent is always trying to get onto his left foot, I’ll try to force him onto his right.

If I’m on the left wing, I picture what I’m going to do with the ball – if it’s coming at me I might either try to fling it round the corner first time, or take on the full-back.

If visualising the game isn’t your thing, you still need a way to get your mind on it. Just make sure you get your sleep the night before.

Some players mess around right up until kick-off. They get nervous, so they switch off until it’s time and then – bang! – they’re ready to go.”

James Milner wears Nike Magista Opus boots, available at nike.com

For more football tips see:
Top five tips for football visualisation
Rooney: Big match preparation
Clint Dempsey: mental preparation
Gary Neville: Become a master of mentality
Michael Ballack: Coping with pressure
Thierry Henry: My pre-match rituals

Promo sitewide