Why Did Souness 'Not Rate' Milner?

Last updated : 14 July 2007 By Footy Mad - Editor
Sir Bobby Robson signed him and had big hopes for the youngster, saying "I wish I could be at this club in ten years time to see the likes of James Milner and Jermaine Jenas in their prime".

However, Robson's departure just weeks into the new season saw Graeme Souness take over and the winger was unable to establish himself under the Scot, who loaned him out to Villa.

He made a major impact at Villa Park and the club came within minutes of signing him on the final day of the transfer market last August. But chairman Freddy Shepherd failed in his bid to sign Mark Viduka, and he phoned Villa to say the deal was off.

The 21-year-old, who is currently enjoying a break following his exertions for England's Under-21s at this summer's European Championship finals, always said he was happy to fight for his place at St James' Park.

Milner: "I'm delighted to have signed a new contract.

"Newcastle United is a great football club and hopefully I can be here for a few more years yet and help the team be a success.

"It's certainly exciting times at the club and I am very happy to be a part of it."

He started 46 of Newcastle's 57 games last season and appeared as a substitute in seven others, scoring four goals, perhaps the most spectacular of them a piledriver against Manchester United on New Year's Day.