Football Opinion – Who Deserves the No. 7 Shirt After Milner Retires?

James Milner
Image Source: The Times

James Milner’s Liverpool career began in 2015 (the same year as Roberto Firmino) when he was signed on a free transfer. Since then, he has proven himself to be a thorough professional, winning numerous trophies with the club.

However, seven years on, at the age of 36, James Milner is now looking to retire from the world of professional football. In today’s article, I will look over the legacy he has left behind. And who, if anyone, deserves the shirt number he leaves vacant, should he retire at the end of this season.  

History Of The No. 7 Shirt At LFC

According to Dominic Whitlock at friendsofliverpool.com: “The number 7 shirt is steeped in history at Liverpool Football Club” (2017). He goes on to explain how talents such as Harry Kewell, Nigel Clough and Robbie Keane have worn this particular number on their back whilst playing for LFC. That article came only two years after Milner signed for the club. So, it’s clear that the number seven will always have significance for Liverpool, as it does now.

Looking further than the history of the shirt, it is interesting that, despite him being a true professional and talented footballer, the number 7 shirt was given to Milner. I am only saying this because, in terms of the position(s) he likes to play on the pitch, he is primarily a left-back and central midfielder (although he is much more versatile than just those two roles).

This is interesting, given that players who previously wore the shirt were wingers (Kewell) and strikers (Clough and Keane). That’s because the number on the player’s back usually corresponds to the area of the pitch he plays. I would say that players such as Fabinho prove the exception to the rule. Indeed, he’s a defensive midfielder yet wearing the number three shirt.       

Who Deserves The Number?

Amongst our current squad, who should take over wearing the illustrious shirt number? I can think of a few possible candidates. Fabinho (he wears number 3), Minamino (number 18), or Naby Keita (to free up the coveted number 8 shirt).

However, I recognise that this would be a difficult choice for Klopp and the board to make. This is an even harder decision in the context of Milner’s retirement. And the stats and figures racked up by the potential candidates throughout this past season.

Conclusion

So, a 36-year-old player leaving behind a legacy at LFC following on from his potential retiring status. It looks like Klopp and the LFC board will have to consider several factors before re-allocating the number seven shirt. These are the impact Milner has made in the (funnily) seven years he has been at the club. Not to mention the illustrious history associated with that number. And the stats of the candidates who could get the number.