Football News

James Milner explains why ‘old man’ celebration was for Virgil van Dijk

By Ben Green

Published: 9:16, 23 April 2019

Liverpool midfielder James Milner has shed light on his ‘old man’ celebration, explaining how his post-goal antics were motivated by raillery comments made by Virgil van Dijk.

The veteran midfielder converted a penalty against Cardiff on Sunday to guarantee his side all three points in the Welsh capital.

What was Milner’s ‘old man’ celebration? Five key things to know…

  1. Liverpool beat Cardiff 2-0 on Sunday in the Premier League.
  2. Milner came on in the second half following an injury to Fabinho.
  3. Six minutes after his introduction, the former England international converted a spot-kick.
  4. As Milner darted towards the travelling away fans in celebration, he mimicked the antics of a hunched old man.
  5. He has now revealed the celebration was inspired by tongue-in-cheek comments made by Van Dijk about his age.

Georginio Wijnaldum had put Jurgen Klopp’s side one to the good after dispatching a lethal shot to break the deadlock in the 57th minute, but Milner put the game beyond doubt with a well-executed spot-kick.

Following his goal, the 33-year-old sprinted in the direction of the travelling Merseyside faithful before appearing to impersonate a hunched old man, and he has now revealed how Van Dijk has been making playful digs about his age on the training field.

“Virgil [van Dijk] has been giving me plenty of stick for being old,” Milner said.

“So it was just one for him really.”

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The ‘old man’ celebration

This is not the first time the ‘old man’ celebration has appeared in the Premier League, with Milner’s post-goal shenanigans evoking fond memories of a certain Samuel Eto’o.

In 2014, during his Chelsea playing days, the Cameroon legend marked a goal in the 4-0 league win over Spurs by racing to the home fans and imitating an old man, using the corner flag as a mock walking stick.

The celebration came about after then-Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho was caught on camera suggesting Eto’o was older than his stated age of 32.

In the spirit of the humorous celebration, Mourinho could be seen cracking a smile, but the former Barcelona and Inter Milan forward has since branded the Portuguese coach a “fool” for his jibe.

Speaking in 2014 ahead of the World Cup, he said: “Thanks for informing me that it will be my last World Cup. Today, I am 33 years old. And it is not because a fool called me an old man that you must believe it.”


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