United or City. Champions League or Eurpopa League. Sir Alex or Mancini. Trophies or Money. Those are the decisions that now reportedly sit at the feet of James Milner. It appears Chelsea have dropped out of the running for Milner leaving just City and United chasing his signature. I have made my feelings on Milner pretty clear in other posts but it now seems that Milner is most definitely a United target. It seems Villa's players are also a little unhappy with the lack of ambition being shown by the club. So it seems like James Milner is one of United's main transfer targets. Let's talk more about the 24 year old midfielder.
James Milner was born in 1986 in Wortley, Leeds. He was an all around good athlete in school showing well in sprinting, cricket and other sports including of course football. He was also a good and bright student leaving school with 11 GCSE's. His father even made Milner take college courses once a week despite his son making a name for himself at Leeds United. Milner came up through the Leeds youth system, the team he supported as a child, and bust onto the scene at roughly the same time as Wayne Rooney. Not too long after Rooney did this:
Milner did this:
And so the rise of a footballer to stardom began. Milner made 48 appearances for Leeds scoring 5 times. He was eventually sold to Newcastle as Leeds were in financial difficulties. Milner didn't want to leave the team he loved as a child but did so because it was in the best interest of Leeds United. There was a time when a BBC poll question asked who was better, Milner or Rooney. Well currently Wayne is the better player but Milner has improved immensely since his Leeds days. First at Newcastle and then at Villa. Over 90 appearances for Newcastle United brought Milner to the attention of Villa who first loaned the player before splashing 12 million pounds to sign him away from St James Park. With Villa Milner has developed into an England regular and has helped Villa push for a top 4 spot in the Premier League the last few season.
He has moved around the pitch at times looking for his best position. First as a support striker or winger for Leeds before eventually being moved inside at Villa as an attacking midfielder. Milner is described as being a tenacious worker who loves to play the game. A midfield version of Wayne Rooney? Hard working, determined, skillful? Perhaps. Milner has a ways to go to catch Wazza but his skill and work ethic excite me as an United fan.
Will Wazza and Milner soon be playing together for more than England?
Milner is still just 24 and has made over 300 first team appearances for various clubs. He is also the record holder with over 40 England Under-21 caps. He has made 7 appearances in the full England squad. He will be in Fabio's squad for this summer's World Cup in South Africa barring injury.
One of the main reasons I think Milner will be good for United is that he recently added more goal scoring to his game. 12 this past season in all competitions, to go along with over 10 assists, shows Milner is developing an eye for goal. It also tells me he is adapting well to a more central role. If Untied bring him in this summer he will have a year or two to benefit from playing and training with Paul Scholes and if Anderson is on his way out of the club I think Milner is the player to replace him. With rumors swirling about United targeting Jack Rodwell it seems United are targeting young players that would fit the homegrown rules. (And pleasing one commentator who likes having English players at Untied)
James Milner set to decide between United and City. I hope he chooses wisely and comes to Old Trafford.