AVILLAFAN XI (1990 to present) – RIGHT WINGER
James Milner – 48%
Paul Merson 30%
Tony Daley 22%
D.O.B. – 4th January 1986
Nationality – England
Aston Villa (2005-2006 and 2008-2010)
Appearances – 124 (Competitive)
Goals – 22 Assists – 25
James Milner first joined Aston Villa after a clause in Newcastle United’s purchase of Nolberto Solano from Villa meant that Milner would be loaned to Villa for the rest of the season.
Milner would make his debut on 12th September in a Premier League match against West Ham United and only five days later, he would score his first goal in a 1–1 draw against Tottenham Hotspur.
He would also play a major part in saving embarrassment in the League Cup when he bagged a brace to bring Villa back from 3–1 down at half-time away to Wycombe Wanderers to eventually win 8–3. against Wycombe Wanderers, scoring two goals in the second half comeback.
The 2005-2006 season was a huge disappointment for Villa and Milner was seen by most as the standout player.
Milner openly stated how much he had enjoyed the loan move to Villa Park and that he was open to join Villa on a permanent deal to get more first team football.
Shortly before the end of his loan period, negotiations between Villa and Newcastle began.
However, Newcastle replaced Graeme Souness with Glenn Roeder and the new man at the helm expressed his desire to keep Milner as a permanent fixture within the Newcastle squad. a Newcastle player.
Villa would continue to try and get their man and went through a period of transition themselves as they were taken over by Randy Lerner who would support Villa in trying to finally get Milner to move back to Villa Park.
Villa made an improved offer which was accepted by Newcastle chairman Freddy Shepherd. However, Newcastle would recall Milner and the talks broke down again.
On 29th August 2008, history would repeat itself. Milner would move back to Villa after a few of £12 million was agreed.
Milner made his full debut for Villa as a permanent player on 31st August 2008 as a second-half substitute against Liverpool.
His first goals in his second spell at Villa came in a third round FA Cup match away to Gillingham. Milner would score both goals in a narrow 2–1 win for Villa to see them through to the next round.
Milner’s industry and fight game after game would lead to him being named in the England senior team squad for the first time.
The pressure and exposure of an England call-up did not affect him as he continued to put in man of the match performances, score goals and crest many more. He stated that his time at Villa was the “most settled” period of his career to that point having incredibly played for thirteen managers and caretaker staff despite being only 23 years old.
Following the departure of Gareth Barry to Manchester City, Milner would be moving into the centre of midfield by manager Martin O’Neill.
The season was a huge success on many front as Villa would go on to finish 6th but also made two trips to Wembley in the League Cup final and the FA Cup semi final.
He would also score some eye-catching goals, perhaps most notably his long range strike in an away win at Sunderland.
On 28th February 2010, Villa would take on Manchester United in the League Cup final. It would be their first Wembley final since 2000.
Mikner was instrumental in the semi final victory over Blackburn Rovers scoring the only goal in the first leg away at Ewood Park. He would also score in a crazy second leg in which Villa would eventually win 6-4.
In the final he would score the opening goal with an early penalty following a foul on Gabriel Agbonlahor.
Unfortunately, Villa were eventually beaten 2–1 by Manchester United.
Milner ended the season with 12 goals and was named Aston Villa’s Fan’s Player of the Year and PFA Young Player of the Year.
The season shot him to the forefront of Villa’s success and other clubs began to be linked to his signature.
On 19th May 2010, it was reported that Manchester City had made an offer for Milner which was rejected.
However, things weren’t great behind the scenes and fans were left stunned as manager Martin O’Neill left just days before the new season.
On 14th August Milner played in a 3-0 win at home to West Ham United and he scored Villa’s third goal.
Milner was substituted and it was a goodbye in style. A standing ovation was given and Milner would throw his boots into the Holte End.
He went on to win numerous trophies with Manchester City before moving to Liverpool where he won the European Cup and has played a key role in securing a title which they surely will receive but the current global pandemic may yet deprive them of this feat.
The effort, ambition and sheer determination in all games has always endeared himself to Villa fans of all ages and there’s always some hope he will come back for a third spell.
A true professional.
Milner also notably made 61 appearances for England scoring once in a World Cup qualifier against Moldova.