It is now looking increasing more likely that James Milner will be taking a big step forwards in his career over the summer, with the likes of Manchester City and United knocking on the door.
It seems incredible that just a few short years ago Milner was stuck in a failing Newcastle side, with Graham Souness stating, ‘we’ll never win anything with a team full of James Milner’s.’
When taking his turbulent career into account, Milner has to accept that Martin O’Neil and Villa were the best thing that ever happened to him. Let’s not forget Milner was for a brief period the youngest ever scorer in the Premier League at just 16, in fact he even took that title from Wayne Rooney. Milner has now been in the Premier League for 8 years, and it has taken all this time until he has now come exploding into the mainstream and into the public consciousness.
His 12 goals from 48 appearances this season, as well as some lightning sharp performances and an England call up have made Milner the next big thing in English football; arguably he was the best England player on the pitch when England took on Brazil in Doha last year.
Milner’s sudden rise at Villa, after being in Gareth Barry’s shadow the previous season, can be attributed to him playing in a more central midfield role. He has taken up Barry’s mantle with great success, but now the lure of moving on to a bigger club, and the prospect of winning trophies (Milner has stated he is desperate to win some silverware after missing out on two great cup opportunities with Villa) and of course the financial benefits of such a move seem too great an opportunity to pass up.
Certainly being at a very consistent and grounded club such as Villa has helped him; his previous exploits at Newcastle and Leeds saw him wallowing in mediocrity. But even at the other end of the scale, if he were to move to a team with talents such as Tevez and Barry, who’s to say he wouldn’t fall into the shadows again. Villa is a squad with a nice selection of English talent, where Milner is the jewel in their crown; what it comes down to is simple, is it better to be a big fish in a small pond, or a small fish in a big pond?
Written By Jack Parkinson