In an exclusive interview with Football FanCast, Dean Windass has delivered his verdict on a potential return to Leeds United for James Milner.
The midfielder started his career at Elland Road but hasn’t played for the Whites since 2004. After leaving Yorkshire behind, Milner has gone onto play for Newcastle, Aston Villa, Manchester City and Liverpool.
He is now a multiple Premier League winner and he’s also earned a Champions League winners medal for his troubles.
Milner has previously been asked whether he would return to the club he rose through the ranks of as a trainee and he didn’t rule it out in 2019, saying: “I’m a fan. I always follow the team and the results. So you can never say no or even yes because just so much changes in football, you never know what happens.”
Football FanCast questioned Windass about a potential return this week and he admitted that although it would be a good fit for the player, he’d probably struggle to get into the side.
He said: “I think that’d be a good fit for him. But I think with James, he’d still want to play. And if he went to Leeds he won’t play, he will be just like he is now at Liverpool – a squad player. James will want to go on and play for an extra two or three seasons.
“I played until I was 39/40 in the Premier League and I wasn’t as fit as James Milner. So I’m sure that he won’t be looking at 35 – when I was younger, at 35 you retire. You get your pension and that’s it, you’re done. You play now until you’re 36, 37 or 38 and I’m sure that James will look that way.”
He was part of the side that were relegated from the top-flight 17 years ago so a return to Elland Road would be a fairytale ending to his career.
Certainly, as far as heading back to somewhere he loves, it would be a positive move for the 35-year-old. However, given his age, it’s unlikely he’d have what it takes to thrive in Marcelo Bielsa’s system.
You only need to look at the minimal impact Pablo Hernandez has had at the age of 35 this term. He’s started just two Premier League games all season.