After leaving Aston Villa in the summer of last year James Milner was all set to continue his fantastic form from the 09/10 season in pastures new after a big money move to Man City. The deal involved around £18m changing hands along with Aston Villa acquiring Stephen Ireland, who has already moved on to Newcastle on loan following a dire start to his Villa tenure. Milner was undoubtedly Villa’s key man last year and equally, has undoubtedly been sorely missed since his departure but the 25-year-old may not be fully content with the beginning of his career in Eastlands. Despite appearing in 25 of City’s 27 games this term, he has only completed the 90 minutes on 13 occasions with competition rife in the all-star elite squad. Add to this the fact that his form hasn’t been nearly as impressive, possibly due to being overshadowed by the likes of Tevez and Silva, and you start to wonder whether Milner will be completely happy with his move.
The midfielder was a creative force for Villa last term, starting on the wing before moving into a more central role later on in the season. It was this versatility which appealed to Mancini but the Italian is yet to reap the rewards which Martin O’Neill did in the previous campaign. In 33 games for City, Milner has scored just 3 times with only one of these coming in his 25 league games. In the same amount of games he has picked up 4 assists which is way down on his tally at Villa Park. In 47 games in the league and cup last year for Villa, Milner scored 12 goals at a rate of 1 in 4 games, picking up 16 assists in the process, a rate of 1 in 3. Compare that against a goals per games rate of 1 in 10 for City and and assists rate of 1 in 8.
When asked as to whether he felt that Milner and indeed Gareth Barry may regret their big money moves to Manchester, current Villa manager Gerard Houllier said;
“Sometimes, if you ask some players would they like to be one year younger, I think they would take it and consider things differently.
“Money doesn’t buy you a regular place in the team and what players have to do is to think about it.
“You want to play. A real player has got the desire for winning and also a love for the game and wants to play.”
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