Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 1 October 2014

Milner in Villa squad

James Milner

Aston Villa midfielder James Milner, the subject of a possible move to Manchester City, has been named in caretaker-manager Kevin MacDonald's squad to play West Ham on Saturday.

City are believed to be offering a player-plus-cash deal involving Stephen Ireland to meet Villa's £30million valuation of the England midfielder.

But MacDonald, in charge since the resignation of manager Martin O'Neill, has named Milner to face the Hammers.

Milner has not featured in any of Villa's warm-up matches since the World Cup but he played 20 minutes as a substitute for England against Hungary on Wednesday.

MacDonald said: "The latest about Milner is that talks are still ongoing. Nothing can be done today (Friday) in terms of him being signed in time to play on Saturday.

"James has been put in the squad and will be available to play for Aston Villa against West Ham."

MacDonald was non-committal on whether he would like to replace O'Neill on a permanent basis.

But he admitted owner Randy Lerner had asked him to be ready to take charge for another week if a successor to O'Neill is not imminent.

The former Liverpool midfielder said: "Would I like to be a manager? What will be will be. Mr Lerner told me to prepare the team for West Ham.

"I spoke to him today and he also asked me to make preparations for next week just in case. That's all I'm doing."

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