Belfast Telegraph

Martin O'Neill happy to play James Milner waiting game with Manchester City

James Milner has been included in Aston Villa's squad for the Guadiana Cup in Portugal this weekend after holding “amicable” talks with club manager Martin O'Neill.

The 24-year-old returned to pre-season training yesterday after being given a month's holiday following England's early exit from the World Cup.

Milner has been the subject of one £20 million bid already from Manchester City which was rejected by the midlands club.

He was reported to be upset last week after O'Neill had said the former Newcastle player had “intimated” he wanted to leave Villa.

But O'Neill is including Milner in his pre-season plans for the cup clashes with Feyenoord and Benfica on Saturday and Sunday respectively.

He and club chief executive Paul Faulkner met Milner and his representative, PFA executive Matthew Buck, after training at Bodymoor Heath yesterday.

Villa issued a statement which reads: “James Milner trained with the rest of the Villa squad today at Bodymoor Heath.

“He and the manager, along with chief executive Paul Faulkner and the player's representative, Matthew Buck, had an amicable conversation.

“While James will not play in the game at Walsall, he will fly with the squad to Portugal on Wednesday ahead of the Guadiana Cup in which Villa will compete with Benfica and Feyenoord this weekend.”

O'Neill is waiting to discover whether City will lodge an improved bid for Milner (pictured) who is valued at around £30 million.

Harry Redknapp has admitted Milner was out of Tottenham's price range as well as insisting he has made no approach for Villa winger Ashley Young. Milner will be happy not to have to tread the same path as Gareth Barry in avoiding having to play against Walsall.

Barry was the subject of much verbal abuse from Villa fans after he had made clear his desire to move to Liverpool in the corresponding friendly two summers ago. He eventually stayed at Villa for another 12 months before moving to Eastlands 12 months ago for £12 million.

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