Sep 10 2012
England midfielder James Milner feels the side are in a much healthier position than they were the last time they faced Ukraine.
The two sides meet at Wembley on Tuesday evening in a World Cup qualifier following England's 1-0 victory over the co-hosts at this summer's European Championships. Milner reckons the England squad is much better prepared this time around as manager Roy Hodgson has had a chance to implement more of his ideas following his appointment in May.
Hodgson's first qualifier ended in a 5-0 win in Moldova on Friday, and Milner said: "We changed manager just before the tournament, and I think we looked very solid and difficult to beat but maybe didn't play as well as we could do with the ball. We are moving forward already, we saw that the other night."
He added: "The longer we are together working with the manager we will become better as individual players and as a team."
The 26-year-old has featured in every fixture since Hodgson replaced Fabio Capello and admitted he now feels like a more important member of the squad.
"I think I definitely feel more comfortable," he said.
"I have played a number of times and I think the more you are in and around the squad the more comfortable you'll be. I was very fortunate to get a number of caps at Under-21 level and I think the more experience you have at international level can only be a good thing for you as a player."
Despite his recent run of games, the Manchester City midfielder's goal in the win over Moldova was his first at senior international level.
Milner was pleased to open his account for his country, saying: "There is no better feeling than scoring a goal - the best thing is pulling on an England shirt and being part of a winning team.
"Everyone likes to represent their country and contribute to an England win, which we can get by keep improving and moving forward as a team - that is the most important thing."