Peter Taylor has hailed the "incredible work ethic" of Aston Villa's James Milner, who could win his first England cap in Wednesday's friendly international with Spain in Seville.
Taylor knows first hand about the qualities of Milner from his spell as England Under-21 coach. He believes Milner is not yet the finished article despite playing a leading part in Villa's push for a Champions League spot this season after a club record £12million move from Newcastle.
But Taylor knows Milner's willingness to put in lengthy hours on the training pitch and his desire to learn and improve will stand him in good stead. Taylor said: "You couldn't meet a nicer, more professional boy. He works his socks off for the team and I am sure Martin O'Neill is delighted with him - and he is still young.
"He has played millions of games for the under-21s. He will still know where he has got to improve. He is not the finished article yet but if there is anyone who will work at it, it will be him.
"He has just got to do a little bit more. He has got to make a few more goals, and score a few more goals. But if he is playing wide right and you are the right-back, then you are over the moon because he will put his shift in defensively and always be available when you have got the ball. He has an incredible work ethic.
"He is great to have in your team and he just keeps working and working to improve. He is playing in a very good team at Villa, who all know what they are doing, and he is playing with confidence."
Former England winger Taylor admitted he was beginning to wonder whether Milner's senior chance would ever come after such a lengthy career at under-21 level.
He said: "I must admit I was getting nervous he was playing the amount of games he was for the under-21s and never getting the call.
"It happened to Jamie Carragher who had loads and loads of games for the under-21s and then for a long time never got into the senior England team. It was only when there was a bit of a break, when he was too old to play for the under-21s, and carried on playing superbly for Liverpool, that he eventually got into the team.
"I am just delighted it has finally happened for James as well."
Taylor also feels Milner's versatility can stand him in good stead now he has made the international breakthrough. He said: "The beautiful thing about him is when I first got involved with him at under-21 level, I wasn't sure if he was right footed or left footed!
"He can use both feet and I think he can play in midfield as well as out wide and up front. I think he can play three positions."