Liverpool's James Milner has admitted to feeling the benefits of his retirement from international football, as he prepares for two weeks stay on Merseyside whilst many of his club colleagues jet around the world to represent their various national teams.
Having made 61 appearances for England over a seven year period, 30-year-old Milner brought an end to his time as an international player after the summer's European Championships, in which he featured little.
The decision was taken in order to prolong his club career, as Milner looked to become an integral part of Jürgen Klopp's plans during his second season in L4.
It's worked so far, with Milner nailing down a place in Klopp's preferred line up, albeit at left-back, rather than the midfield position he arrived at the club to play.
Mental break crucial for Milner
Speaking about the benefits, Milner revealed that whilst he does train, it helps to get the odd day off here and there, adding "it's the mental break aswell" that helps.
“I don’t think you feel it at the time but sometimes when you step out of that or maybe at the end of the season when you feel how you feel then - a bit more refreshed - you think ‘How have I been in that mode?' he added.
Milner explained that "you're obviously training hard", but "you have heard so many people talking about it prolonging their club careers" with the likes of Ryan Giggs and Paul Scholes having both retired early from the international scene.
Speaking about the notable differences in staying back, the re-born defender admitted "it's obviously different, it's a new phase for me in my career", going on to say "to concentrate on Liverpool is obviously the big thing for me now. We had a game in the [previous] international break to keep us ticking over. I felt pretty fresh going into the next round of fixtures after the international break."