Hodge, now working with Nottingham Forest's academy, told the Sunday Mirror: "I think Joe Hart has a chance as the third goalkeeper if he has a busy season for Birmingham, and Micah Richards could take advantage of being able to play both at right-back and centre-half.
"But somebody like Milner, or Mark Noble - who I rate very highly - has got to do a lot to get their name up in lights and make an impression in midfield, where the competition is so tough.
"They both barely got half a dozen goals in all competitions last year and they've got to do more to show the manager they are in good form."
Hodge got his chance by scoring 10 goals in a season to impress Bobby Robson and reckons Milner, who now has a record 46 Under-21 caps, must do something similar.
He said: "I moved to Villa from Forest to play in the centre of midfield where I could get goals from, and I was then lucky that Bryan Robson had a bad shoulder.
"That's something Milner will have to add to his game. It can be hard to score from out wide where he plays, but he'll need to get his name in big headlines to have a chance."