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Oct 12, 2009

Milner: We will learn from mistakes

James Milner insisted no-one in the England squad is "getting ahead of themselves'' and already thinking of the World Cup finals next summer.

Fabio Capello's side surrendered their 100 per cent qualifying record when their run of eight successive wins was brought to a crashing halt by Ukraine's 1-0 victory in Dnipropetrovsk on Saturday.

It was always an uphill battle after goalkeeper Robert Green was red carded after only 13 minutes.

But Aston Villa winger Milner believes such experiences will stand them in good stead in case they are repeated in South Africa next summer.

"We are disappointed to lose the 100 per cent record," Milner said. "We came to Ukraine to win and wanted to make it ten wins out of ten in our group. That is not possible but we can start learning from these games. Going down to ten men is a learning curve especially with it happening so early in a match.

"It might happen at some stage in the World Cup and it is about using that as an experience and learning from this. We did well with 10 men and were unlucky not to get something out of the game.''

Milner could start against Belarus at Wembley on Wednesday if Steven Gerrard fails to recover from a groin injury which forced him to be substituted at half-time.

The former Newcastle player, England's most capped Under-21 international, is one of many England fringe players targeting an elusive place in Capello's squad for South Africa.

"Every player wants to play in the World Cup," Milner said. "But no-one is looking too far ahead. Everyone is focused on the job in hand. We lost this game but no-one is getting ahead of themselves and I thought we put in a pretty good performance with ten men.

"We rallied well, created some good chances, had to work very hard with ten men and were disappointed not to get something out of the game but it just didn't happen for us.''

England's defending again was far from exemplary with Rio Ferdinand having a particularly unhappy time in only his third international during the past 12 months.

But Milner said: "Are we concerned about mistakes? I don't think so. You are going to make mistakes in every game and at the highest level you get punished. It is about learning from those mistakes, watching the video and making sure the mistakes happen less and less.''

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