Manchester City risk seeing James Milner's price skyrocket if they fail to sign the England midfielder before the World Cup.

England assistant-coach Stuart Pearce reckons Milner can play a vital role in Fabio Capello's Three Lions bid for glory in South Africa this summer.

And that would mean the Eastlands moneybags will have to increase their offer if they are to prise the midfielder away from Martin O'Neill's despairing clutches.

Pearce, who insists the former Leeds star has the versatility to shine on football's biggest stage, said: "He is ready to step on to the highest level on the international stage.

"If he is called into action in the World Cup I have no doubt he will perform well."