James Milner – a Future Newcastle Great

Milner is not with the Newcastle squad in Austria right now as he has been given extra time off by new boss Sam Allardyce to recover from his exploits in the Under-21 European Championships in Holland over the summer.

Let’s look at James’ still brief career in football – and remember it was almost five years ago when he made his Premiership debut at Leeds – when still only 16 years old.


James Milner

Milner, who turned 21 on January 4th, and is a full 19 days older than team mate Steven Taylor, must have thought his United career was over 11 months ago when he was set to join Aston Villa – after being told by boss Glenn Roeder he was surplus to requirements. As everyone knows he was recalled at the last minute when United’s deal for Mark Viduka fell through on the last day of the transfer market.

To us that was typical old Newcastle – and hopefully that kind of nonsense will not happen with Allardyce and Chris Mort (for Mike Ashley) in control of the club. For one so young that could have been devastating for the then 20 year old Yorkshireman but James showed a maturity way beyond his years and got himself stuck in and was arguably Newcastle’s best player last season.

Last season Milner played more games than anyone else at Newcastle, as he appeared in 53 games – plus a number of games for the England Under 21 side – which was over 60 games in total.

Milner has two years left on his current deal, but James wants to sign a five-year (improved) contract after being rewarded for last season’s performances by new boss Sam Allardyce. It did not go unnoticed to Sam how well James’ played for Newcastle last season – and who will ever forget that goal against Manchester United at St. James Park? Allardyce is keen to keep Newcastle’s best youngsters – and we have quite a few of them – even though Sam must also build more experience into the side.

Milner first arrived on Tyneside from cash-strapped Leeds, when Sir Bobby Robson was in charge and Leeds were reluctant to let one of their prize assets go for just £3.6m, in 2004. In retrospect James has turned out a winner but was hardly given the games he needed by Newcastle. After his first season at Newcastle, he was sent on sent out on loan to Villa, where he played 33 times for them with his old boss David O’Leary keen to make the deal permanent before being sacked by Aston Villa. His agent – Professional Footballers’ Association deputy chief executive Mick McGuire – has now agreed a new contract after months of work, and James is expected to sign the deal imminently.

James Milner has now played for Newcastle 104 times scoring 8 goals. He played for Aston Villa 33 times scoring 3 goals and while at Leeds he played 54 times scoring 5 goals. In the 2003-2004 season he was loaned out to Swindin Town and played 6 games for them scoring 2 goals. Since he is still only 21 – James has been a very productive player so far in his career.

We think James is a model professional and has a great career at Newcastle in front of him – it’s hard to think how any 21 year old could be a better professional – and of course James is very well liked by the Newcastle faithful. We think we have a gem in James.

Comments welcome.

10 comments so far

  • sean

    Jul 7, 2007 at 8:28 AM

    Comment #1

    james was easily our best player last season along with stevie taylor.

  • jim

    Jul 7, 2007 at 8:28 AM

    Comment #2

    I think Milner was the only bright spark last season and to think that we nearly gave him away to Villa. He played the most games yet at the last home game against Blackburn he was still full of running even though you could clearly see that he was tired. Like I have said previously I am glad he is staying because I believe he and Geremi can build up a good understanding on the right side. I still think we need one or two more established defenders to cope with injuries etc. Has the deal with Gudjohnson been reserected because I read somewhere that he said he would like to be re-united (pardon the pun) with big Sam?

  • Now Then

    Jul 7, 2007 at 8:38 AM

    Comment #3

    I really like James Milner but i am concerned with that goals to games ratio.
    He needs to contribute more goals from his postions and i hope he can progress in this department to make him the player we all hope he will be.

  • Rob Kirton

    Jul 7, 2007 at 8:50 AM

    Comment #4

    He is potentially a great player. The end product isn’t always there at the moment. He is aggressive going forward and comes of the pitch covered in sweat, blood and snot having given it his best. He has one hell of an engine in him and his attitude is spot on. If he could learn to cross the ball only half as well as David Beckham or even Nobby Solano, he’ll be a real superstar.

    I’d have him working each day solely on his crossing technique, a bit like the way Johnny Wilkinson works on his kicks. As long as he realises he’s not supposed to put it over the bar :0)

  • Joe

    Jul 7, 2007 at 2:37 PM

    Comment #5

    I think his crossing is fine. He needs to score more goals though. Excellent player mind.

  • WelshWizard

    Jul 7, 2007 at 2:47 PM

    Comment #6

    Has shown plenty of potential but if he could practice his crossing more and more i think we’d have a real class act on the right who’d be difficult to drop cause the 100% effort in every game is already there…

  • cooldj

    Jul 7, 2007 at 5:46 PM

    Comment #7

    not sure if he’s naturally quick enough to be a future great but if he develops in other areas (especailly goals) then he can certainly be a very good player in the future. How lucky that our move for viduka collapsed last august!!! now we have both of them!!

  • JP from The Rock of Gibraltar

    Jul 7, 2007 at 7:42 PM

    Comment #8

    Yeah that is great luck for once Coojdj 🙂 Milner has bags of potential all he needs is an improvement in his crossing and more goals would be nice too. It’s very hard to believe he is only 21. He was the bright spot of last season but I have to admit that it was equally pleasing to see Nobby Solano develop into a great RB. I hope Solano still plays there next season and puts pressure on both Geremi and Milner respectivly.

  • Ed Harrison

    Jul 7, 2007 at 11:23 PM

    Comment #9

    JP – we liked Solano a lot at RB – but there will be competition for places and as long as our team spirit is good – that’s going to be great for the team. Trust Sam can handle the players that way – the team’s the most important thing – always.

  • keeop oba & owen

    Jul 8, 2007 at 9:00 AM

    Comment #10

    yeah, james is great… if we keep on playing him think how good hell be in a few years?? hell still only be lik 24, 25….


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