Milner: There is competition for every spot in England team

The Manchester City midfielder hopes to earn a start against Italy on June 14 as the Three Lions continue their preparations having arrived in Miami on Sunday
James Milner believes the competition within England's squad will prove a major benefit at the World Cup.

The versatile Manchester City midfielder is up against Adam Lallana and Raheem Sterling for a starting berth in England's Group D opener against Italy in Manaus for what will be his second appearance at the showpiece tournament.
15/8 England are 15/8 with William Hill to finish top of Group D at World Cup 2014

At present he looks set to play a key role for manager Roy Hodgson from the bench with the 28-year-old keen to stress the importance of England's versatility.

As well as having plenty of options in the squad, Milner feels the squad are ready for the differing tests offered by group rivals Italy, Uruguay and Costa Rica.

"The competition for places is really good all over the squad. There is great versatility, we'll have to play against teams differently," Milner told reporters.

"There is a real professional feel around the squad and everyone knows what is expected of them. Everyone is raring to go.

"Everybody's fitness is there or thereabouts. We are all raring to go. Hopefully I can be in that starting line-up against Italy.

"We are in and around the heat which is exactly why we are here. Come that first game I don't think we could be more prepared.

"You don't get many chances to play in a World Cup. It's an amazing experience and everyone is looking forward to that."

Milner could come up against former City team-mate Mario Balotelli when England face Italy while Uruguay will hope Liverpool star Luis Suarez recovers from a knee injury in time to play a part in the group stage.

However, the former Aston Villa man played down the benefits of being familiar with opposition players.

"Knowing players we are playing against helps. But we're playing against teams not just individuals. We need to concentrate on the whole team," he added.

"The weather in South America is a major difference but we're doing everything to prepare. The atmosphere won't come into it, we're used to that.

"All three games are important. We are focused on the first game now, but it may (prove to) be helpful to prepare against Latin American teams in [the] build-up."