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 Posted by ESPN Staff
May 18, 2006

Roeder still undecided over Milner's future

Newcastle boss Glenn Roeder has warned he will not be rushed into a decision on the future of talented midfielder James Milner.

The 20-year-old has enjoyed a hugely successful season on loan at Aston Villa under David O'Leary, the man who blooded him as a teenager during their time together at Leeds.

Indeed, Milner, who headed for the midlands as Nolberto Solano travelled in the opposite direction in a £1.5million return to St James' Park in August last year, has done so well for Villa that O'Leary is desperate to make his move permanent.

However, Roeder, who was unveiled as the Magpies' new manager on Tuesday, will sit down with chairman Freddy Shepherd this week to draw up his plans for the future, and Milner's name will be high on the agenda.

'James Milner has had a very good season at Villa and has impressed David O'Leary,' he said.

'But I will be sitting down with the chairman at the end of the week to discuss the whole squad, and that will include discussing James' future.

'We don't have to rush into making a decision.'

Milner arrived at St James' in a £3.6million move from Elland Road in July 2004 as Leeds' cash problems hit hard.

He had to wait for his chance and struggled to rediscover his best form when it arrived, although Newcastle would only agree to a loan move to Villa.

Solano's form under Roeder in particular has been excellent since his return, and with South Africa-born Matty Pattison having emerged from the ranks with Alan O'Brien hot on his heels, the club does have strength in depth in midfield.

Milner is, understandably, keeping his options open, but with Villa having regained the fee they received for Solano and looking at off-loading Mathieu Berson to Auxerre for in excess of £1million, they are hopeful of meeting an asking price of around £3million should Roeder and Shepherd decide to sell.

The Magpies' priorities currently lie elsewhere; their need for a top-class striker following Alan Shearer's retirement is well-documented, while a central defender, as ever, remains high on the wish-list.

In addition, should Shay Given's deputy Steve Harper finally succumb to the lure of regular first-team football, they will need to find a replacement for him.

The position may become a little clearer next week with Newcastle due to publish their retained list on Monday, while an announcement on Roeder's backroom staff is expected shortly afterwards.

Meanwhile, the former West Ham boss has admitted Solano's escape virtually unhurt from a road accident in Peru at the weekend was 'a miracle'.

The 31-year-old suffered only a minor head injury when his BMW 646 overturned and burst into flames after clipping a pavement and careering into a tree in Lima.

'It's an absolute miracle,' Roeder said. 'He is very lucky and thankfully, he is okay.

'Nobby was excellent for us last season. He played an extremely important role for us and helped us get into the top seven.

'He weighed in with several assists and some important goals. He is a fantastic player.'