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.
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 â€“ plus a number of games for the England Under 21 side â€“ 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 seasonâ€™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 â€“ 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 Â£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 Oâ€™Leary keen to make the deal permanent before being sacked by Aston Villa. His agent â€“ Professional Footballersâ€™ Association deputy chief executive Mick McGuire â€“ 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 â€“ 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.