Here at In Off The Ghost we work hard and we play hard. We are not alone either, the whole of the afterlife is like one giant steel mill. But this kind of work ethic is not only restricted to the realm of the dead. There are plenty of people amongst the living that aren’t afraid of putting in a shift or two, and one player in particular has caught the eye of the football’s most ethereal enthusiasts. After his performance in Aston Villa’s 1-0 win over Blackburn Rovers in the Carling Cup, James Milner seems to be the most industrious man in the Midlands since Matthew Boulton. His manager Martin O’Neill was full of praise for the 24-year-old England international:
‘James has been playing splendidly. He has settled into central midfield as if he’s been playing there all his life. He always felt there were goals in his game and he’s really enjoying himself at the moment.
He’s playing brilliantly, so he’s a brilliant player. Does playing great make a great player? No, I accept your point, but he is a great player.’
Although Martin O’Neill is no stranger to hyperbole, his comments started off an intense discussion here in football’s Elysium. What qualities does a player need to be considered great? We decided to get the answer straight from the corpse’s mouth, and spoke with famous Greek warrior King, Alexander the Great.
‘To be truly great you must be brave in battle and lead by action. I was known as Great in the world of the living because I conquered the entire of the Persian Empire. Milner has not conquered all before him yet, and he must do so to share my title.
I was indebted to my father for living, but to my teacher for living well. No man could wish for a better teacher than Aristotle. However, Martin O’Neill seems like a close second,’ mused our Persian pestering pundit.
‘Milner is the kind of man a leader loves. He works stoutly and knows his place in an organised attack. But he must remember that upon the conduct of each depends the fate of all. Heed my advice and nothing is impossible to him who will try.’
After hearing the opinion of one of history’s greatest and having seen his recent performances, In Off The Ghost is convinced that James Milner most definitely has what it takes to achieve true greatness.
(All material in this blog is entirely fictional and does not represent the views or opinions of anyone, alive or dead, other than those of the author.)