UEFA have announced a list of top players appearing at Euro 2016 this summer in France. The list includes the ever dependable James Milner.
Even Liverpool fans would be surprised that Milner made it onto the list, let alone earning the fourth or fifth spot (depending on which UEFA-sanctioned version of the list you choose to believe). Milner had a very strong second half to the season, but in a gathering of Europe’s best players at a single tournament, you would have expected to see Toni Kroos, Paul Pogba, and others ahead of Milner.
UEFA was quick to point out that the ranking is the result of lots of very official sounding science, should you not be sure of their methods.
The UEFA EURO 2016 Player Barometer is tracking players’ form in the build-up to and during the tournament. The Barometer runs official player statistics through a specially-designed algorithm to create rankings based on player performances.
Player data from qualifying formed the initial basis for the rankings, which have taken into account performances for club and country from 1 January 2016. This gives a unique and comprehensive evaluation of players’ form when UEFA EURO 2016 kicks off, after which the Barometer will track which players are excelling in the tournament itself.
Regardless of how they arrived at the rankings, it’s a nice boost for Milner ahead of his representing England in his fourth major tournament and second European Championships. Whether he stays on the list will depend on how much of his Liverpool form he can bring to Roy Hodgson’s squad, but by the time the tournament starts, UEFA’s ranking list is likely to be the furthest thing from his mind.