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Stephen Ireland Wants Out, Milner’s Poor Career Choice

If you would have told me at the start of the season that by the end of December Aston Villa’s big summer signing Stephen Ireland would have been a flop and James Milner had made the worst decision of his career by moving to mega rich Manchester City then I would have laughed off any suggestions. But as we enter the latter stages of the Christmas period this could be no wrong.

This week saw Mr Ireland come clean in expressing his desires to leave Villa Park after 4 dismal months. As a Villa fan I was actually happy to see the Milner transfer go through because we were able to purchase such a fine player in exchange. How wrong could I have been. Ireland’s performances on the pitch have been dreadful and instead of rolling up his sleeves and digging deep he’s opting to leaving the club for pesters new. Gerard Houllier should grant him his wish and let him go Ireland as never looked comfortable at Villa and as always looked disinterested when wearing the claret and blue jersey.

I would easily accepted five million pounds for the midfielder and not a penny less. Put this with the five million we earned from the Milner deal and we have a good 10 million to spend on a good midfielder. Recent reports have linked us with Juventus and former Liverpool player Mo Sissoko. This in my opinion would be a good signing as he already as Premier League experience and could easily adapt to Villa defensive formation and style of play.

I also believe that shipping out Ireland would also improve the changing room atmosphere. I’m not pointing any fingers but when Ireland was a City he didn’t get on with the manager and whilst on International duty he quit because he didn’t get along with the Irish senior squad. Over the last 20 years whilst I’ve been a Villa fan I’ve never heard of any changing room bust ups but it was made publicly by young midfielder Barry Bannan in a recent television interview. I’m just saying it’s a big co-incidence, don’t you think?

Anyway onto James Milner. Every time I talk about Milner to others football fanatics I always tell the story of that cold Tuesday night at Wigan last season. Milner was playing centre midfield and Villa were still in a shout for fourth position. With the score at 1-1 Milner popped up with the winning to secure Villa all three points. That evening Milner ran his socks off and looked as good as any Steven Gerrard or Frank Lampard. On Monday Night I watched him again start on the right wing for City. This position does not suit Milner one bit, he gets isolated and sticks to the touch line. It saddened me to see this as I still believe that Milner is England’s future and his not being able to show his abilities down the middle under manager Roberto Mancini. Lets hope Milner gets unhappy at City and wants a quick return to Villa Park. Well you can dream can’t you.

The boxing day fixture sees the visit of Tottenham. Again and I bet you lot will be sick of me saying this but I believe that we will come away with all three points. Villa have been poor of late but we did secure a crucial win against rivals West Brom which will definitely boosted confidence. Spurs in the league have been performing brilliant at home this season, this not so much away from White Hart Lane with a number of draws against the likes of Bolton and Birmingham City. I’ve not seen any team news yet but the return of Emile Heskey and Gabriel Agbonlahor up front will strengthen Villa.

My prediction 2-1 Villa win.

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  1. jerkinmahjurgen

    December 23, 2010 at 5:28 pm

    Greed is corrupting football. City doing what Chelsea done. It’s not sport. It’s hardly even humane.

  2. Roger

    December 23, 2010 at 11:29 am

    City is littered with the bodies of good not great players who are being payed fantastic sums to do exactly what they were doing with their old clubs except now it isn’t good enough. (See J. Lescott, et al.) Milner is no different a player (except as some say out of position) than at Villa, and you could make the same argument about Gareth Barry too.

    I support Everton, and I was stunned for us to get two in the first 20 minutes Monday night. That was a total cock-up by their defense and I don’t think any of them except Tevez wanted to play. No Champions League finsishing position for them. they don’t have it in them.

    • Mike

      December 23, 2010 at 12:05 pm

      Roger, fair play for scoring with two of the three shots you had at our goal throughout the game. Your team organised itself very well to defend and waste time from 6 minutes in. It takes a mentaly tough and disciplined team to do that for the majority of a match.
      If you are honest though you will see several handballs in your penalty area that should have been awarded as penalties. Upon watching the replays there were two stone wall penalties not given at least. Peter Walton had a huge part to play in your three points just like he did in the exact fixture last season. How a referee tackles time wasting by wasting more time is absolute genius and you cant say his performance did not play into your hands.
      City outplayed you throughout the game. You really have toffee tinted glasses on if you saw something else happen. Go and ask a neutral. As for top four, City will most probably make it although it is of course not a guarantee. What have you got against City? If the same thing had happened to Everton would youy be saying no we dont want to get towards the top, nor to see some great players play in our shirt. Stop being a bitter hypocrite and remember that we know how it feels to live in a shadow too. Forgive us for dreaming.

  3. Adam

    December 23, 2010 at 9:54 am

    Good article mate.

    My 2 cents on Milner- I watched him for years at Newcastle and I have to say I was never blown away with his end product. Yes he would have good patches of form, but deployed as a winger he could not cross very well and often struggled out wide- he just lacks that extra bit of quality. When he showed real promise was for a period of time, Kevin Keegan took him off the wing and used him more infield as a centermid- which really played to his strengths (his work rate, shooting from distance, eye for goal, etc). Then he was off to Villa, and I think Martin O’Neil had the same ideas on deploying Milner as Keegan did. I am not slighting Milner at all, quite the opposite really- he always played for the shirt and under shall we say less-Newcastle like circumstances- I think he could have had a great career with Newcastle. Wish him the best. He is the anti- Ireland.

  4. James

    December 23, 2010 at 6:04 am

    Not the most coherent article, but I agree with the gist of it.

    Milner’s move to City was short-sighted on his part. Yes, he has earned more money in the short term. But if he had stayed at Villa another year or two, he would have been the fulcrum of the side, establishing himself as one of the best central midfielders in the league. Then he would have been hot property for a Man Utd, Arsenal or a Chelsea to come in and buy him as the next Lampard or Gerrard.

    As it is, Mancini bought him still thinking of him as a winger (a position which neglects a lot of his best skills) and his poor form has seen him drop to the bench a few times recently – its especially telling that his only Premier League goal this season was scored for Villa on the opening day.

    The exact same thing happened to Barry when he left. At Villa, he was the player every good passing move went through, and played in a more attacking role than many commentators recognised, where he could get in the box and grab goals. At City, he has played in a more restricted defensive role that he is not best suited to, and his form has dropped significantly – resulting in him now struggling to make the first team. Even his England place is now in doubt after a poor World Cup.

    Ambition is one thing, blind greed is quite another.

  5. Villa4Ever

    December 23, 2010 at 4:51 am

    Bobby trust me, in Jan and in the summer combined, when we have sold Young, Carew, Beye, Warnock, Petrov, Friedel, Sidwell, Ireland, Dunne, When all them players have moved on, with their fees taken in and money on the side i bet you we have 50m worth of talent coming in the club with the two transfer windows combined.

  6. bobby dazzler

    December 23, 2010 at 4:31 am

    O’Neil left the club precisely because Lerner told him he had nothing to spend, so doing the maths on what Villa got for Milner is utterly irrelevant. Nobody is going to pay £8m for Ireland. Fulham might pay £4m, Everton haven’t got 4quid, nevermind 4 million so forget about that. Face fact, Lerner lost a fortune in the recent crash and so cannot bank roll villa like he has done recently. Back to mid table mediocrity for you.

  7. Matthew Reed

    December 23, 2010 at 2:29 am

    Seriously, this author needs Santa to bring him a proofreader.

    Ireland doesn’t seem to be able to handle what modest success he has had, it is unlikely he will find his form again. Milner is playing frequently and hard but as it has been stated, he is playing out of position.

    I wonder how much Cook would have paid for Milner if he wore Adidas?

    I also think the situation at Villa will get worse, not better. The Villa supporters who are doing the math to calculate the transfer kitty are ultimately going to be disappointed. It is a shame too, Villa supporters really do deserve so much more, IMHO.

  8. Mike

    December 23, 2010 at 2:07 am

    How has it been a bad career move? Where is the evidence to support this? Villa unfortunately are on a downward spiral at the minute until Houlier can sort the defence out and get a few clean sheets. I’m sure it will come together for you soon, you deserve it.
    Remember though, Dunne is undisputed own goal king and although as brave as a lion he is happy to play out his career without winning anything, some of you might have abandoned the idea of rubbing any decent form in our faces by now. Once the guy has a dodgy moment he can lose focus rapidly and can become a liability. Realist City fans knew it all along but at the moment we have many other choices. I’m not apologising for my club showing ambition and i’m sure if you were in my shoes you would be the same.
    Milner had the ambition and confidence to join a club that is like it or not going places. Once he settles into the team and the club he will pick up medals. Your lads should have won the carling cup last season but for the all too familiar double standards in refereeing when United play. Despite that near miss (or theft) seriously, can Villa offer the future City can at the minute? I would suggest not quite.
    As an admirable club with solid support and a good FOOTBALL team it saddens me to see bandwagon jumping by some of your fans just out to slate City using ‘information’ from anti City media reports like this. Stick to backing those in the famous shirt now rather than lament the one that got away. If the roles were reversed and you took arguably our best player, sure i wouldn’t like it. Knowing the loyal and knowledgeable nature of your fans though i wouldn’t be wishing failure on you. I would want you to weaken the bullys and open the gate. Get your timing right and there could be a golden age in it for you too.

    Good luck against United, give them one from us.

  9. Ken

    December 23, 2010 at 1:45 am

    Villa don’t need Ireland or Milner. We have Bannon and Albrighton instead who i rate better anyway. And they are both hungery to succeed.

  10. mintox

    December 23, 2010 at 12:50 am

    You should be careful what you wish for, Sissoko is nothing better than a serviceable midfielder. His vision and distribution sometimes leave a lot to be desired, what he lacks in intelligence he makes up for in his ability to cover ground.

    At Liverpool he struggled with the pace of the game often resulting in turnover of posession due to his inability to complete a pass.

    He’s certainly no direct swap for Ireland!

  11. brn442

    December 23, 2010 at 12:24 am

    Saying it’s a “poor career choice” is a bit harsh – whether it works out or not – give the boy some credit for showing some ambition, and as Ade said – the increased wages don’t hurt either.

  12. Mell

    December 22, 2010 at 11:55 pm

    Milner move to City is the right one money wise, career wise I think no. We have warned you before the season starts but nobody listen. Ireland should go though, no passion, no teamwork and no attitude

  13. David G

    December 22, 2010 at 10:06 pm

    I love how similar soccer is to basketball. Talent alone isn’t enough to build a great team. Putting people in the position to succeed, team chemistry, and matching different players strengths and weaknesses are big factors in success. As this column says Milnar is best in the middle and is wasted on the wings. He’ll be sold for a loss soon enough and blossom again under the right coach. Great Article!

  14. Evan

    December 22, 2010 at 9:06 pm

    Milner made the right choice. He’s played nearly every game. The only reason he hasn’t started every game is because he has been fairly poor this season. But that may be because Mancini insists on player a central player on the left…

  15. On The Offensive

    December 22, 2010 at 9:02 pm

    They both need to move. You can be on a third place team and not play successfully, but Ireland will move to another mid table club or a big club will snap him up and take him as a restoration project. Ireland to United would be hilarious.

  16. brian c

    December 22, 2010 at 8:48 pm

    Stephen Ireland dug his own grave with the Republic after he lied about his grandpa dying. His girlfriend had a miscarriage which would have allowed him compassionate leave and had he told the truth, he may still be playing with them.

    • Dave C

      December 23, 2010 at 10:31 am

      I’ve never quite understood that story…I mean on the surface it was funny that he lied about his grandpa dying only to be found out that he was lying (and I think he then tried to say “I meant my grandma”, only for it to be discovered that she was alive and well too)…but if the truth was that his gf had a miscarriage, I can understand him not wanting to tell people about it out of concerns for her own privacy. If that’s the whole story, I feel a lot of sympathy for the guy.

  17. Evertonian

    December 22, 2010 at 8:27 pm

    Everton will take Ireland off ya hands in Jan. on a loan 🙂 We Love the guy and no doubt Moyse will bring the best out of him. When you go to sell him in the summer he will be worth much more

  18. Ade

    December 22, 2010 at 8:20 pm

    James Milner now has double the wages and has played in nearly every game (and started most) for a team sitting in 3rd place. Doesn’t sound like a bad career move to me.

    • trying to take this seriously

      December 23, 2010 at 5:48 am

      i agree some people just dont understand football this post is ridiculous lol..

  19. Villa4Ever

    December 22, 2010 at 8:12 pm

    The Milner transfer was worth 26million pounds, Ireland was valued at 8million in that transfer and it seems Fulham look set to buy him for the 8million we brought him for. We have 18million unspent from the transfer, if Ireland does go for the 8million we recoup the 26million from Milner, Also Randy Lerner said there was money in the transfer kitty before we even sold Milner.

    With Sidwell looking set for a 2m move to West Ham and Carew, Beye, Freidel, Ashley Young set to move on this Winter we should gain a lot of cash from Young (around 20million) and lowering the wage bill considerably.

    A lot of people would hate to see Barton come to Villa in January but for a short term fix i think he could add a lot of steal we are missing with Delph and Reo Coker out of the team.

    Let’s just hope GH can find the next Nasri, Henry or even the next Zidane.

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