O'Neill denies Milner fall-out
Martin O'Neill insists there has been no fall-out with Villa owner Randy Lerner over James Milner.
By Ben Collins
Last Updated: 02/04/10 4:10pm
Martin O'Neill insists there has been no fall-out with Aston Villa chairman Randy Lerner over the future of James Milner.
Reports claimed there had been a bust-up between manager O'Neill and club owner Lerner over suggestions Milner would be sold to Manchester United.
And while O'Neill expects the in-form England midfielder to interest the Premier League's big guns, he is adamant there has been no approach for the World Cup hopeful.
"There was a story that I had fallen out with the chairman because of a supposedly imminent transfer of James Milner to Manchester United," he said.
"James would be worthy of playing in a side like that. I wouldn't think for one minute that top clubs wouldn't be interested in James Milner.
"He has been splendid for us this season but there is not one ounce of truth in the story. It is ludicrous."
O'Neill's bid to turn Villa into UEFA Champions League qualifiers has been bankrolled by Lerner, who also owns the Cleveland Browns NFL franchise.
The Villa boss has spent wisely, bringing in a host of young British players such as Milner.
And he is confident Lerner is in no rush to cash in and quit the Midlands club, claiming the American billionaire is set to finance a development of Villa Park.
"Since I arrived here four years ago, I've invested £80million of the chairman's money," O'Neill added.
"If he wanted to sell some of those assets - which he has not intimated at all - he would get that money back, and with a bit of interest as well.
"If you wanted to let four or five of the top quality players leave this club, you would get your money back but that has not been Randy's notion and I think he is trying to think about improving Villa Park as well.
"I don't think he is ready to walk away or worry himself unduly about his investment at all because he knows it is there on the pitch. We have a number of top quality players at this club."