COS contributor Mike Wattley believes Martin O’Neill should prevent England man Milner from trying to flee.
James Milner has unarguably had one great season for Villa, playing in Centre midfield, which has seen a transfer price tag of £30 million hung around his neck. Villa qualified for Europe again, in a tougher more competitive league and reached the final and semi final of the 2 English domestic cup competitions. However, it seems to me that no one is mentioning the fact that every major media outlet questioned the fee of £12 million for essentially he same player 2 years ago when Milner moved from Newcastle to Villa..
His first season for Aston Villa was average, he struggled to break in to the first XI, when he did he was played in a variety of positions, and, like the rest of the team, was responsible for the dramatic turn in form when Villa went from cruising in 3rd in the league, to finishing 6th (the only team to have ever been in a CL qualifying position at that point in the season and not qualify).
It was a stroke of genius when O’Neil moved Milner in to centre midfield, the guy has everything, pace, control, vision, quality passing and great finishing.. this was seemingly missed by about 1000 managers at Newcastle, and by Stuart Pearce in the England U21 set up.. Milner has been transformed from an average winger, to the lynch pin in the Villa team, which has seen him named PFA Young Player of the Year and has seen him picked in Fabio Capello’s 23 man squad for the World Cup 2010. Not to mention that fact that Gareth Barry was not missed one bit..
It is an absolute mirror image in Gareth Barry’s transformation from an average overweight winger to the ‘key’ midfielder in the England team.. upon Martin O’Neil’s arrival at Villa Park, Gareth Barry was on the verge of joining Portsmouth for under £5 million, O’Neil came in, moved him to centre midfield and from there Barry lost a stone in weight and gained admirers from every view point..
Like Barry, it seems that Milner is now ready to jump ship as soon as the opportunity arises to earn more money.. had Gareth Barry moved ‘for Champions League Football’ like he stated, he would have been wished well by the claret and blue faithful, and the fickle unfaithful, but he moved for one thing, money.. James Milner is ready to abandon the team, and the man, that he owes his future at the highest level too.. had he been kept on the wing, he would have not been in the England team and on the verge of a mega bucks move to a team that finished just above the team where he is adored..
I personally hope Villa do the same as when Barry appeared on the back of the News of the World looking glum demanding a move and refuse to sell at any price, with a Billionaire sugar daddy and one of the best managers in the league (better than Mancini that’s for sure) Villa aren’t exactly desperate to sell, and Milner does not need to move, especially when he is being offered a reported £75,000 a week to say, and with no major tournament next season to impress for he might as well play regular football!