Milner set for Villa contract talks

Milner signed a four-year deal when he became Villa’s record

signing in a £12 million switch from Newcastle 18 months ago

and is under contract until June 2012. But Villa will act during

the close season to attempt to tie down the 24-year-old on a longer

term basis. Milner has been in outstanding form and forced his way

into contention to be part of the England squad for the World Cup

in South Africa this summer. Villa boss Martin O’Neill has already

spoken with Milner but all parties have agreed to leave any

negotiations until the end of the current campaign. O’Neill told

the Wolverhampton Express and Star: “I would say we wouldn’t be

looking at people until the summer but that doesn’t mean that James

Milner hasn’t been fantastic for this football club. “I’ve already

spoken to him and we are leaving everything. We’re not going to sit

down now. “The season is far too busy and the summer is the perfect

time to talk and I think all parties agree on that too.” Milner,

who began his career as a teenage striker at Leeds, has been moved

this season into the centre of the park at Villa by O’Neill. The

former Celtic boss believes Milner can compete strongly with Steven

Gerrard and Frank Lampard for a place in Fabio Capello’s side but

also feels his versatility will help to clinch a spot on the plane

to the World Cup.