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B'mouth 15:00 A Villa

Milner not behind O'Neill exit

Midfielder denies O'Neill resigned due to transfer saga

By Mike Barton.   Last Updated: 25/08/10 1:47pm

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James Milner has denied Aston Villa boss Martin O'Neill walked out over his transfer to Manchester City earlier this month.

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O'Neill quit his role at Villa Park in a sudden exit just five days before the start of the new season, leaving Kevin MacDonald in caretaker charge.

Despite not having confirmed the reason for his departure, it was reported that the Irishman had disagreements with owner Randy Lerner over Milner's transfer and how the money received would be spent.

The England winger however denied that his move to Eastlands was the catalyst behind O'Neill's decision.

"No I don't think so," Milner said.

"I think you'll have to ask Martin O'Neill his reasons for leaving, I don't know whether he's come out and said them.

"I'm sure there were the right reasons in his mind. He's made the decision and he's done a fantastic job at Aston Villa.

Leaps and bounds

"The club's come on in leaps and bounds, obviously Randy Lerner is there and he's done a fantastic job.

"I think the club's in great hands there. The way he's run the club so far is top notch. I'm sure the fans are very happy that he's at the helm and are looking forward to guding them to success."

The 24-year-old admitted he had not spoken to O'Neill since his departure, but insisted that he was just happy to have completed his £23million move to City and had always been focused on his football.

"Not since he left the club no," Milner said when asked about speaking to

O'Neill.

"It took a while to get here (City), but in the end it went through.

"When things are being said every day in the paper and wherever you go out and people are asking you what's happening and you don't know yourself, there's only one thing you can do, just concentrate on your football and that's all I did.

"I just kept doing as well as I could at Aston Villa and see what happened."

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Villa's win at Everton in 2008