Friday, September 08, 2006

Mil due a run in the side?*

England U21s have our very own James Milner to thank for ensuring they reached the European Championships play-offs, the youngsters recording a 3-2 win over Switzerland in Lucerne on Wednesday.

Half-time substitute Milner went close on a couple of occasions before snatching the vital goal shortly before the final whistle. Theo Walcott and Preston's David Nugent had given England a 2-0 lead by the 18th minute, but a defence containing Steven Taylor was unable to hold out against a Swiss side featuring several full internationals, both their goalscorers Johan Vonlanthen and Tranquillo Barnetta having appeared in Germany.

Milner has made a promising if not electric start to the campaign for club and country, but the whole deadline day fiasco threatens to derail his season at a very early stage. He needs and probably deserves a prolonged run in the Newcastle side, but it looks unlikely he'll get it, what with new signings Obafemi Martins and Guiseppe Rossi (both natural strikers) vying for what could potentially only be a single position up front against Fulham. Might he displace Solano on the right, though? Certainly Nobby hasn't been at his best so far, and Milner's ability to beat a man and deliver a decent cross could yet see him nudge ahead of the Peruvian to stake a place in the side.

* Yes, spot the horribly contrived pun...


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