Aston Villa manager Martin O’Neill has said today that James Milner wanted to stay at Newcastle, but the club would not offer him a new contract, and instead elected to sell him.
James Milner – wanted to stay on Tyneside
Martin O’Neil has spilled the beans on how we lost James Milner to Villa as he talked about James today:
“My own view is that if James had been given a new contract at Newcastle I think he would have stayed.” “James had played a lot of games for Newcastle and if they were stalling on a new contract we had a great opportunity to get him in.”
“The offer from Villa was too good for Newcastle to turn down and James is worth every penny of the fee.” “I think he is doing very well for us. He conjured up something from nothing for the second goal against Blackburn Rovers on Wednesday. It was fantastic.”
“James working hard for a football team becomes second nature to him as it does with the likes of Ashley Young.” “He has good energy, great determination, good skill and will definitely improve.”
“I have no doubts about James. As a character he is top class.” “It says a lot for James that after telling him there were offers on the table for him he still wanted to play for Newcastle in their Carling Cup game against Coventry and he was brilliant.”
“What I find terrific about both James and Ashley Young is that they will work back for you.” “They can pick up the ball and having done that they are prepared to gallop 40 yards forward and that is terrific.”
This is probably the event that started Kevin Keegan having second thoughts about the plans and ideas of the Newcastle Board and owner Mike Ashley, as Kevin had made it very clear he didn’t want to lose James Milner, whom he called “a gem of a player.”
And we heard that James was surprised when he heard Newcastle were willing to let him go, just before the end of the transfer window, since he always talked very well of the Tyneside club.
And he had one of his best ever games for the club in that fantastic extra time win over Coventry in The Carling Cup, which turned out to be his last appearance for Newcastle.
Why we cannot hold onto young players, who love the club, and are only going to get better, is completely beyond us.