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James Milner admits to ‘boring cliche’ ahead of facing Newcastle United

12 months ago
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I wonder if James Milner looks back and wonders how his career might have turned out if he had stayed at St James Park.

Signed by Sir Bobby Robson as an 18 year old back in 2004, after only a handful of matches the then winger found himself with John Carver as caretaker manager before the misery of Graeme Souness descended.

Souness infamously declaring ‘We will never win anything at Newcastle] with a team of James Milners’, eventually sending him out on loan whilst recruiting the likes of Michael Owen, Amdy Faye, Albert Luque and Jean-Alain Boumsong.

Souness never got another job in management after Newcastle belatedly sacked him, as for James Milner…over 60 caps for England and Premier League, FA Cup and League Cup medals for Man City, he is now in the last 16 of the Champions League and four points clear at the top of the Premier League with Liverpool.

James Milner is often mocked for having a ‘boring’ persona and ahead of playing Newcastle, he himself uses the ‘B’ word, saying it is a ‘boring cliche’ but that there are indeed no easy games in the Premier League.

Newcastle fans would happily have taken some of the ‘boring’ that James Milner has experienced since escaping the madness of St James Park.

The departure of Milner was the final straw for Kevin Keegan after being repeatedly lied to, walking out and successfully suing Mike Ashley for constructive dismissal, a culture of lying and misleading Keegan and the fans laid bare as KK won his case.

A decade of chaos and misery has seen relegations and Championship football for Newcastle fans, rather than what their former winger turned versatile defender/midfielder has experienced.

James Milner praises Rafa Benitez and says he has proved he’s a ‘very good manager’ throughout his career.

The Liverpool player stating that Rafa will have done his homework and set his team up accordingly.

Never in Rafa’s career though has he been so badly undermined by a club’s owner, so he has to approach the game with tactics that take into account the players he has available.

Whether we will ever actually see it is open to question but Benitez must dream of going back to Anfield with a Newcastle team that could go there expected to give his old club a proper game.

In the meantime he will go and try to get a result today with a team full of Haydens, Manquillos, Perez’, Ritchies and loan players.

James Milner talking to official club site:

Rafa Benitez has obviously shown over the years that he’s very good tactically and a very good manager.

“He’ll set his team up and he’ll no doubt watch a lot of our games so he’ll know where he thinks our strengths and weaknesses are, so it’s down to us to be able to adapt.

“I think we’ve done that well this year, finding different ways to win games.

“You can’t always play free-flowing, attacking football and be on the front foot for 90 minutes in every game.

“It’d be nice if you could be but you can’t.

“You have to adapt and find a way to win and find the right way to play in each game, and that dictates how we play on the day but also how the opposition sets up and how the manager wants us to play.

“I think that’s a good quality within the group.

“We have that, we have different ways of playing, we can play different formations, and we have a very strong squad with a lot of good players and also players who can play in different formations and styles of play.

“It’s an old, boring cliché, but there are no easy games in the Premier League.

“That’s the fact, whether you’re at the top or the bottom or a team in the middle, everyone wants the points.

“Liverpool is a big club and a big scalp, and teams know what a test it is to play us and they’re going to raise their game playing against us as well.

“So we have to be ready for that and we know how difficult it’ll be, but hopefully our qualities come through.”

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