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 Posted by ESPN Staff
May 23, 2009

Milner fears Barry exit from Aston Villa

James Milner admits his Aston Villa team-mate Gareth Barry will again be "a wanted man" this summer as he enters the final year of his current deal.

Barry looked set to join Liverpool last summer only for the Reds to be unable to match Villa's £18million valuation of the player.

Now the fee Villa could ask for the England midfielder will be considerably less, although ideally manager Martin O'Neill would like to hold onto the services of one of his prized assets.

Milner also hopes Villa can retain all their star players, with the likes of Gabriel Agbonlahor and Ashley Young also likely targets for their Barclays Premier League rivals.

Milner, who will face his former club Newcastle on Sunday at Villa Park, said: "Keeping Gareth or not is not down to me. I just come in and play football.

"That will be decided by the manager and obviously Gareth and his agent

"But Gareth is obviously going to be a wanted man because he is a top-class player and that's what happens when you are playing for a big football club.

"I am sure there are clubs going to come in for a few of our players this year but that is what happens when you have quality at the club - but hopefully we can keep the squad and maybe add to it and go again next year.

"We will see what happens but hopefully that is the case."

Club record signing Milner is a massive admirer of Barry who has spent 12 years at Villa and clocked up more than 400 appearances.

He said: "Gareth is massive, a top-class player, and you are seeing that now when he is playing for England as well.

"He has got in there, he is staying in there, and is on that teamsheet everytime.

"You don't realise how good he is until you watch him every week as a fan or you play with him, not just his ability on the ball but his work-rate as well.

"He does a lot of running for the team, going forward and tracking back, he gets stuck in.

"He has that ability and for the young players around him on the pitch but also in the dressing room, he is a leader. His attitude is excellent and he is very professional.

"When you have got a lot of young players around, he sets a good example."

Milner believes Villa have made progress this season despite a late fade-out ending their hopes of securing a Champions League spot for the first time.

He said: "We could have had a couple of more wins in the last few weeks but you can look at it another way and say 'yes, we've only won once since February but we are still in the top six'.

"That shows how good a season we were having up to that point.

"Overall, in the last few games we have deserved more out of them but that's football. You just need that bit of luck and bit of extra we haven't had for the last few games.

"That bit of luck we maybe had earlier in the season hasn't been there.

"Of course, it's not just down to that. We have needed to try and iron out a few problems for ourselves, defending as a team from the front all the way through the side.

"But it is how you learn from these runs. It has been a poor run for us, and we know we should have done better, but it is about what you take from these and how you bounce back."

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