Milner Could Be Used In Central Midfield


An interesting report in the Newcastle Journal today, that suggests Kevin Keegan may start using James Milner in a central midfield role.

james-milner-435.jpg

 James Milner – new central midfielder?
Certainly James looked very good in that role on Saturday, and will be a box to box midfielder if he is played there, he is just such a fit lad.

Necessity is the mother of invention, and right now, as Kevin said on Saturday, we have lots of wide men, but we are short of good central midfielders – so step forward James.

That is probably where it’s come from, and Keegan, being the great coach he is, wants to get the very best out of the players at his disposal right now. While we expect a central midfield signing before the end of August, we think James has the making of a good future in that position.

Apparently both the player and his manager have discussed the possibility of James playing in the middle during pre-season training, and it seems like Keegan believes Milner’s fantastic work-rate and great fitness level – which the manager rates as among the best he’s ever seen, make James an ideal candidate for a holding midfield role.

Keegan said today:

“I know James can play on the right but he’s got so much energy – he’s the fittest player at this football club and one of the fittest football players I’ve ever seen when I played or since I’ve been in management,”

“But if you’re out wide you have to wait for the ball to come to you whereas in the center you have a bit more chance to go and find it.”

“I thought he did well at Hartlepool.”

Good thinking by Kevin, as usual.

Milner’s future has been the subject of speculation during the summer, and even recently reports have been in the press that Aston Villa still want him, but Newcastle don’t want to lose the lad, and his price is £10M, if they want to pay that, which we assume they will not.

Milner looked too good on Saturday, plus the fact he’s been the most consistent player at Newcastle over the last couple of seasons, and now it seems Keegan wants to use more of that football ability that Milner obviously has in abundance.

Comments welcome.



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128 comments so far

  • aqmin

    Jul 22, 2008 at 10:28 AM

    Comment #1

    1st comment!!

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  • NotAGhostToon

    Jul 22, 2008 at 10:29 AM

    Comment #2

    Great plan, & one which will kickstart his career.
    This’ll utilise his core skills and make him more versatile. Bring it on!

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  • trojan

    Jul 22, 2008 at 10:29 AM

    Comment #3

    needs to do something…… he can`t cross for toffee.

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  • totsy

    Jul 22, 2008 at 10:30 AM

    Comment #4

    i always thought he would makes a good cm he just doesnt have the pace to play as a winger….i dont think we need another cm as we have milner guthrie butt smith which should be fine

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  • aqmin

    Jul 22, 2008 at 10:30 AM

    Comment #5

    think n’zogbia should play there though.. he’s faster, trickier, greater dribbler etc..
    but whatever being said by keegan must have reasonable reasons.. I believe his thought is good, thus i trust him!! go Toon Army!!!!!!!!

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  • Gunnar/Iceland

    Jul 22, 2008 at 10:32 AM

    Comment #6

    I think he could do well in this position. Has the stamina and passing ability.

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  • Will

    Jul 22, 2008 at 10:35 AM

    Comment #7

    He needs to learn how to look up as he runs with the ball.

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  • Dev

    Jul 22, 2008 at 10:36 AM

    Comment #8

    Like I’ve been saying for ages now, I thought this might happen. When you think the likes of Modric and Arshavin are supposed to be worth zillions, I’m not convinced either is that much better than Milner. Certainly nobody had heard of Arshavin when he was 21 years old.

    I think Keegan see’s Jinky Jim as his new Pedro and with a little tweaking I really think the position is made for him. He needs to work on his link up play but other than that he has everything needed to be a top central attacker.

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  • tyneside tommo

    Jul 22, 2008 at 10:37 AM

    Comment #9

    I’m a huge fan of Milner and if he can emulate and better the top knotch performances of Nicky Butt in central midfield than let’s go for it.

    I suspect he will take on more of an attacking role but wonder if this means Bad Boy Barton is heading towards the exit door.

    Certainly quality thinking by KK. I’ve always felt Milner is too good a player to be warming the SJP benches.

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  • Oga

    Jul 22, 2008 at 10:37 AM

    Comment #10

    Gokhan Inler says he will be at Udinese next season.

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  • Punk Skunk

    Jul 22, 2008 at 10:37 AM

    Comment #11

    Aye, always thought Milner (& Zog) would be better employed in a more central role…They just don’t seem like natural wingers to me!..
    …’Bout time someone realized that!..

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  • Dev

    Jul 22, 2008 at 10:38 AM

    Comment #12

    Problem with N’Zogbia playing there is his discipline. He doesn’t know where the balance is between inteligent forward play and defensive duties. Milner is far more energetic and is 2 footed making him a better student for the role than Zog.

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  • Stami

    Jul 22, 2008 at 10:39 AM

    Comment #13

    makes good sense. this topic was discussed at great length a while back, and i think the conclusion was that Milner would make a fantastic central midfield player.

    HOWAY THE LADS!

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  • Marty

    Jul 22, 2008 at 10:39 AM

    Comment #14

    totsy,you think smith is ok for CM,didn`t you see any games last yr???????
    Good to use milner in this way as he is crap at crossing…….good engine for midfield

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  • Oga

    Jul 22, 2008 at 10:40 AM

    Comment #15

    And Gudjohnsen is open to offers

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  • Ben_BKK

    Jul 22, 2008 at 10:40 AM

    Comment #16

    I think he could do well in that position, and he’s probably be more of a CM than an AM.

    BTW Ed, is it really a good thing to have Allardyce in the Blog header? 😉

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  • agnetha

    Jul 22, 2008 at 10:40 AM

    Comment #17

    a midield of

    –Jonas-Guthrie–Milner–nzogbia

    Gets your pulse racing doesnt it.

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  • Punk Skunk

    Jul 22, 2008 at 10:41 AM

    Comment #18

    I think we could see Zog come to life centrally, it’s his prefered position…That’s prob why he always has the hump…

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  • Dev

    Jul 22, 2008 at 10:42 AM

    Comment #19

    The future could well be Zog, Guthrie, Milner, Jonas and looking at that there are plenty of goals and assists but I haven’t seen enough of Guthrie to make a judgement as to his abilty to play the holding role.

    But if you have players like Milner and N’Zogbia you just have to find a place in the team for them.

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  • beessi

    Jul 22, 2008 at 10:42 AM

    Comment #20

    i don’t believe that he can do his job in cenral

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  • totsy

    Jul 22, 2008 at 10:42 AM

    Comment #21

    marty- well i defo wouldnt play him as a striker so it only really leaves one positions tbh

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  • valle

    Jul 22, 2008 at 10:42 AM

    Comment #22

    The problems with milner has always been his dreadfull crossing and his annoying habbit of dirbling when it would be wiser to pass… This could be a smart move, since Milner will need to let go of the ball fast or he will lose it and being in the middle his crossing wont matter… That being said, we still need a top class creative midfielder, but with Diego, VDV, Mountinho, Affelay, Fernandez, Montolivo, Schweinsteiger, Källstøm and De Guzman out there, who would come and who could do the job?

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  • Jon

    Jul 22, 2008 at 10:44 AM

    Comment #23

    Every time I’ve seen N’Zogbia in CM he’s looked great. I’d sooner see him in the centre and Milner out on the left, if Spidey’s playing RM.

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  • totsy

    Jul 22, 2008 at 10:45 AM

    Comment #24

    does anyone know a way i can get the matches on the internet coz im in cyprus at the moment

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  • Dev

    Jul 22, 2008 at 10:45 AM

    Comment #25

    Alan Smith will struggle to get in to the side next season.

    Can’t see him pushing Oba, Owen or Viduka out, he would strugle to force Ameobi to be fair and in midfield we have Geremi, Butt, Guthrie, Milner, Zog, Barton and Faye who can play the central midfield role.

    So quite where Smith fits in now is anyones guess. It might be better for the lad to move on but if not it’s not a bad player to have on the bench I suppose. But he needs to bring more to the table than a booking per game.

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  • Black and White Blood

    Jul 22, 2008 at 10:46 AM

    Comment #26

    Hmmm, Keegan is doing exactly what he did with Rob Lee….. Brilliant idea!

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  • JOeT

    Jul 22, 2008 at 10:47 AM

    Comment #27

    Would love Baptista and Inler in the center of midfield! That would frighten other teams, as well as providing height, speed, strength! As well as the ability to pick a pass they would both offer a defensive element (esp Inler) and would undoubtedly grab a few goals 🙂

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  • Dev

    Jul 22, 2008 at 10:48 AM

    Comment #28

    Beesi,

    everytime he’s been played central he’s done really well.

    The Heerenveen home game a few seasons back he was played there and he tore the to bits and rounded things off with a goal from outside the 18 yard box. He’s only 22 now, lets not forget that.

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  • Dave76

    Jul 22, 2008 at 10:49 AM

    Comment #29

    Brings back memories of a certain rob lee … good winger, even better midfielder.

    Think it would be a good move for him / could be a masterstroke by KK

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  • madpie

    Jul 22, 2008 at 10:50 AM

    Comment #30

    yes he can, but we definitely need 1 or more midfielders!

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  • agnetha

    Jul 22, 2008 at 10:52 AM

    Comment #31

    why not just flog milner and buy a proper central midfielder. We played a striker in smith in midfield and that hasnt worked.swap milner and smith for barry at villa.

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  • Dev

    Jul 22, 2008 at 10:52 AM

    Comment #32

    Baptista is nothing but a name. He has done nothing for the past 3 seasons and as for Inler…there is no way he is any better than what we have already. At the most we need one more midfielder and I can see that being a young left sided defensive player to rival Butt. Guthrie is an obvious Barton replacement.

    Butt was fantastic last season for us so there would be no point dropping him yet for Inler or anyone else. We have young Guthrie who Keegan obviously sees as a first teamer so one more would be enough otherwise the likes of Butt and Zog would be pushed out.

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  • Sav

    Jul 22, 2008 at 10:55 AM

    Comment #33

    At the mo, sadly we’ve absolutely nowt to lose.
    Milner is 2-footed and like N’Zog, he could do with one of those Elizabethan collars you put on your dog, in order to teach the pair of them to look up when they have the ball.
    But JM is a really good lad to have so if KK can find a role, great. And there’s no-one better to do that and convince a player he can do it.
    Will Milner vie with Guthrie to be wor new Rob Lee, then? Or as someone said, the new Beardo.
    Oh, for the old Rob Lee and the old Beardo right now!

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  • geordiekk

    Jul 22, 2008 at 10:56 AM

    Comment #34

    honestly think the best role for us would be to send him to scouse land dont fancy another season of watching this lad running around in circles not knowing what to do with the ball imo. i know we are short on players and the defence is the priority but if kk is considering playing milner as a creative midfielder then that possition should then be our priority

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  • Dev

    Jul 22, 2008 at 10:57 AM

    Comment #35

    why sell Milner?

    Why are Liverpool interested in him? Because he’s top notch that’s why. He’s still an Under 21 player and some people seem to think he’s no good.

    By the time he is 23/24 he could be world-class and to sell him would be crazy.

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  • Dev

    Jul 22, 2008 at 11:00 AM

    Comment #36

    Arshavin is 27 and in all honsesty I had never heard of him until about a year ago.

    At 22, Milner is still a kid and there isnt many around of his age and ability.

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  • HeronMag

    Jul 22, 2008 at 11:01 AM

    Comment #37

    Like many others on this blog I’ve been saying this for a while. Milner is a natural attacker and is still developing. The idea of Guthrie or Butt marshalling the midfield with Milner pushing forwards in the centre (Zog and Gutierrez out wide) is mouthwatering.

    I hope this is true!

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  • Michael

    Jul 22, 2008 at 11:02 AM

    Comment #38

    Doesn’t have the eye for a pass that we need in midfield. I’m sure he could do a job there on occasion but on a permanent basis I think we need to sign someone better.

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  • The Entertainers

    Jul 22, 2008 at 11:03 AM

    Comment #39

    This has been coming for a short while now. I have read numerous comments on this blog how Milner should play a more central role.

    I too endorse those comments, but believe the lad is a central, central midfielder, not an attacking or defensive. The ideal position has to be right midfield in a 4-3-3 formation, along side Butt and one other whether that be Barton, Zog or Guthrie.

    Our options in midfield are not too bad, still believe we need a efensive midfielder, but doubt one will come with Keegan making comments about Guthrie and Milner filling in this position.
    I would love to see an attacking midfielder, but believe we need players for other positions firstly, such as defence and another striker.

    I can really see our midfield being rotated quite a bit next season.

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  • geordiekk

    Jul 22, 2008 at 11:05 AM

    Comment #40

    what ability what exactly has milner done he has done nothing at all a couple of good euro games when his crossing was good against mostly second rate teams that ameobi and lua lua destroyed. i cant see how anybody can think he will do well down the middle and to compare this lad with pedro is madness please think about what ur saying milner aint fit to lace his boots

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