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Scottish Mag

Milner key to O'Neil departure

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MIDDLESBROUGH are in no mood to sell unsettled midfielder Gary O'Neil on the cheap, but Newcastle's James Milner has emerged as a strong candidate to replace the former Portsmouth man.

 

Boro boss Gareth Southgate is a long-standing admirer of Milner and views him as a suitable alternative to O'Neil on the right wing if the latter's situation fails to improve.

 

Southgate intends to recruit hungry, promising midfielders this summer and if O'Neil departs, the boss would not be prepared to wave his plans.

 

Milner, 22, fits the bill. Newcastle are likely to fend off any bid for the England Under-21 international from Teesside, but Southgate has the Magpies man high on his wanted list.

 

"We have to start looking to bring in some young players we can develop," said Southgate, hinting at Milner, who has not figured for Kevin Keegan's side since the defeat to Liverpool in March.

 

"We never seem to be in that position as a club to be able to develop from within, but we have never invested in young players who you take a chance on and hope will come through."

 

In football terms, O'Neil is satisfied with life at the Riverside Stadium, although on a personal level, with his family in mind, he would prefer to return south.

 

Southgate will be doing everything he can to persuade O'Neil that his future remains in the North-East after proving himself in the first half of the season to be a viable solution to a right-side problem that has dogged the club for the last few years.

 

The Middlesbrough manager would be the first to admit that his off-the-field dissatisfaction has had a negative impact on O'Neil's performances since the turn of the year.

 

That's why Southgate would listen to offers for O'Neil if it becomes clear by the time pre-season training starts in July that the player's desire is still to move on.

 

"My ideal (with O'Neil) is that we get everything settled and he is with us because he can improve.

 

"We definitely want to keep him," said Southgate.

 

While Milner and Chelsea's Steve Sidwell are two players very much in his plans, Southgate has discounted the suggestion that he is interested in Sheffield United's versatile midfielder Michael Tonge.

 

Tonge, 25, has previously attracted interest from Liverpool and Tottenham, but Southgate will not be making a move.

 

"Even he is more of an experienced player," said the Middlesbrough boss.

 

"He is a good player but I am thinking even younger than that. Players with all the time ahead of them.

 

"We also know that maybe in the Academy we have a crop that has come through together, though maybe only one or two currently might step up

 

" That is the age group we're looking at.

 

"We have Tom Craddock as the only young striker at the club now since Ben Hutchinson went to Celtic. Jonathan Franks and Nathan Porritt are more wide players, so there is a role there for any bright young striker."

 

South Korea striker Dong-Gook Lee is in negotiations with five Japanese teams after being released.

 

The 29-year-old left the Riverside on Tuesday after failing to hold down a regular first-team place following his move to England in January last year.

 

"We cannot disclose all the teams under negotiation, but we plan to make our choice within the next three months,'' said Lee's agent Kim Ki-Hoon.

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One of the problems with having a fairly weak squad such as ours is that players like Milner get used to being first team regulars, when ideally they would be useful squad players/substitutes. So when we buy or want to buy quality players who put the likes of Milner in their "rightful" place, they get the huff and want to leave. So we have to buy more players to replace them. And who wants to sign for a club to be a squad player anyway?

 

I'm not saying that Milner is a bad player, or that it's wrong to have ambition and want to be a first team regular, it just puts us in a difficult position.

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Selling Milner without bringing quite a few in would be unwise, and in all honesty £5m seem more than a bit low in this market.

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What happened to the rumours about Liverpool signing him as back-up?

 

A few scousers on another forum I'm on reckon they're gonna sign him still like.

Edited by Besty

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I'd take 5m for him

should really just be on the bench etc as someone said he only got so many starts because of our small squad.

Always thought he was a bit too slow

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I like Milner, but I dont think his progress has continued as it should have. Seems to have lost a bit of his game. While our squad is a bit small, Id prob keep him but I would like to see a new winger come in who can play left or right wing and who can put a good cross in. Since Nobby left thats what I think we have lacked. Id sell duff and keep Milner and Zog to fight for a place along with the new winger.

 

Its crossing thats needs big improvement from Zog and Milner though. Id like to see if KK can help improve both. both still canny young. But, if we did sell Milner, I wouldnt be that bothered.

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We simply aren't in a position to get rid. At the least he makes a good squad player and it would just be another hole in the squad to fill. Keegan is talking about bringing in 3-4 players so getting rid of Milner would be moronic.

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No point in selling him, squad is thing enough as it is, especially in the midfield area. Doesn't mean I rate him though.

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5mill is a bit of a kick in the nuts for a lad his age with some much prem experience under his belt .

i wouldnt like to see him go , i reckon there is more to come from milner .

there is no point giving these youngsters games if we are going to flog them before they are playing there best football.

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Unfortunately I reckon JM is now the finished article, wouldn't be sad to see the back of him tbh

Ginger beer.

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We won't sign 3 midfielders so if we sell him we will leave the squad short and there would be more chance of playing Duff.

 

 

KAPOOOW!!

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Unfortunately I reckon JM is now the finished article, wouldn't be sad to see the back of him tbh

 

 

i think he will get more consistent tbh , he's played far to many games these past few season , and the only thing the lad lacks for me is that final ball .

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Unfortunately I reckon JM is now the finished article, wouldn't be sad to see the back of him tbh

 

 

i think he will get more consistent tbh , he's played far to many games these past few season , and the only thing the lad lacks for me is that final ball .

 

Isn't the fastest either tbf but the lad is only 22 and has already been one of if not the player of the season for two midtable premiership clubs. Works his arse off and is versatile, also doesn't hide against the big clubs.

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Unfortunately I reckon JM is now the finished article, wouldn't be sad to see the back of him tbh

 

 

i think he will get more consistent tbh , he's played far to many games these past few season , and the only thing the lad lacks for me is that final ball .

 

Isn't the fastest either tbf but the lad is only 22 and has already been one of if not the player of the season for two midtable premiership clubs. Works his arse off and is versatile, also doesn't hide against the big clubs.

 

 

yeah he is shy of pace like , but he seems tobe able to still beat his man , unlike an irish winger we still have on the books .

if were not going to keep hold of these youngsters then id rather not play them tbh , i mean you take there mistakes into consideration like they are going to improve , but if we flog them all were are doing is letting the buying team use us as experience for them .

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yeah he is shy of pace like , but he seems tobe able to still beat his man , unlike an irish winger we still have on the books .

 

Aye Duff's never been the same since his last injury at chelsea

he was never a flying machine but his ability to turn was great, and he seems to have lost it

 

Still he was picked up pretty cheap considering the experience he has, we've paid more for worse not a bad squad player but i'd rather have Zog getting started on the left

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We also know that maybe in the Academy we have a crop that has come through together, though maybe only one or two currently might step up

that is the age group we're looking at.

 

Good old Boro, true to form :calmdown:

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