Although I thought well of the lad, and he always gave 110%, he may not get fans on the edge of their seats like a David Ginola.
But Roy Hodgson is acutely aware Milner could be the ideal man to give England a hefty shove towards the World Cup.
Danny Welbeck's absence from Tuesday's potentially pivotal trip to Ukraine has created a vacancy in Hodgson's side.
After his 20-minute cameo in Friday night's 4-0 win over Moldova at Wembley, it appears Milner is in the frame to act as stand-in.
He might have neither the physical attributes of Welbeck nor the acceleration and dribbling skills of Theo Walcott but, on an evening when durability and hard work are likely to be key elements of a positive England performance, there is no-one more suited to the role.
Hodgson: "We know what James will do.
"He isn't, and doesn't pretend to be, as exciting as some of the wingers we sometimes use these days.
"After a long period of time where I've not seen many wingers in the country, I'm now seeing lots of them.
"But we are going to need experience in Kiev. Milner is not a winger, but the qualities he brings could be very useful."
If there is a complaint about the 27-year-old it is that he does not score enough goals for England. Milner was winning his 40th cap on Friday night and has found the net just once.
HIS TIME AT NEWCASTLE ...
In July 2004, he agreed a five-year deal with Newcastle from the club he supported as a kid - Leeds United.
Milner made his first appearance for Newcastle United during their pre-season tour of Asia, scoring his first goal for the club in a 1–1 draw against Kitchee, in Hong Kong.
During this tour, he took the opportunity to observe how Newcastle striker Alan Shearer dealt with attention from fans and the media. He said that his association with people like Shearer gave him a better idea of how to deal with the media.
Milner's first Premier League game for Newcastle came against Middlesbrough on 18 August 2004, in which he played on the extreme right of the field as a winger, despite having featured regularly on the left for Leeds.
When asked about this after the match, Milner said he had no preference where on the pitch he played.
A month later he made his debut in European competition, when Newcastle played in the UEFA Cup against Bnei Sakhnin from Israel, after coming on as a substitute for Shola Ameobi.
In the same month, he scored his first competitive goal for the club, also as a substitute, in a 3–1 win against West Bromwich Albion.
However, the situation changed for Milner after Newcastle manager Bobby Robson, whom Milner considered his mentor, was sacked and replaced by Graeme Souness.
Under Souness, he started 13 league games, but did not play his first full Premier League game for Newcastle until April 2005. By the end of the season, he had made 41 appearances in all competitions and scored once.
Souness did not make Milner a regular in the Newcastle side and controversially remarked that the club would not win "with a team of James Milners".
At the start of the 2005–06 season, Milner scored in Newcastle's 3–1 away win against FK ZTS Dubnica in the Intertoto Cup, and also set up Shearer for the team's third goal.
His good run of form in this competition continued when he scored in the next round against Deportivo La Coruña. Despite these goals, a clause in Newcastle's purchase of Nolberto Solano from Aston Villa resulted in Milner being loaned to Villa for the rest of the season.
Villa manager David O'Leary, who had managed Milner at Leeds, was happy to acquire Milner in this deal, saying that he believed Villa got the better of the deal and that he hoped to improve him as a player.
Milner made his Villa debut on 12 September 2005 in a Premiership match against West Ham. Five days later, he scored his first goal for the club in a 1–1 draw against Tottenham Hotspur. In a League Cup game less than a week later, he helped his side recover from being 3–1 down at half-time to win 8–3 against Wycombe Wanderers, scoring two goals in the second half comeback.
O'Leary confirmed during the season that he would like Milner to join the club permanently, but doubted he would be given the opportunity to sign him. Shortly before the end of his loan period, negotiations between Villa and Newcastle began.
The newly-appointed Newcastle manager Glenn Roeder appeared to appreciate Milner's ability more than Souness and expressed a desire that he remain a Newcastle player.
However, the deal was resurrected when Villa were taken over by American billionaire Randy Lerner, and Martin O'Neill was appointed as new Villa manager. Villa made an improved offer on 30 August, which was accepted by Newcastle chairman Freddy Shepherd. Media sources quoted the transfer fee as being £4,000,000. A move to Villa appeared to have been agreed, but at the last moment Newcastle recalled Milner and the talks broke down.
Newcastle's players and manager Glenn Roeder reacted positively to Milner's return at the start of the 2006–07 season.
Roeder praised Milner for the way he had handled the failed Villa transfer, although Roeder's own handling of the negotiations was criticised. Roeder confirmed that he would play Milner in "plenty of games" during the season. This proved to be the case, as Milner was a starter in the Newcastle side for the entire season.
Newcastle made a poor start in the Premier League, but in European competition, Milner played a key role in helping Newcastle advance through the group stage of the UEFA Cup. Shortly after, rumours began to spread that he would be sold during the transfer window in January, although both Milner and Roeder dismissed these rumours.
Milner signed a new contract at Newcastle in January, which secured his future at the club until 2011.
He signed another four-year contract in May 2007, when Sam Allardyce took over as manager of Newcastle.
He said later in the year that he was happy about his future at the club and its new manager saying the that training sessions were "the best since I have been here".
After missing the final nine games of the season due to a foot injury, it was rumoured in May 2008 that he would be part of a transfer between Newcastle and Liverpool.
Despite starting the season for Newcastle and scoring in a League Cup win over Coventry City, it was revealed after the game that Milner had handed in a written transfer request the week before.
Return to Aston Villa[edit source | editbeta]
Milner signed for Aston Villa on 29 August 2008 for a fee of £12 million, and signed a four-year contract with the club.
Milner made his debut for Villa on 31 August 2008 as a second-half substitute against Liverpool.