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The thing that stood out most from this game was the commitment and passion shown by the players. Whereas at times this season it has sometimes looked as if they didn't care, they worked incredibly hard for the duration. Still areas to improve - of couse - such as first time passing, and the central midfield does look weak, but there seems to be enough about this side to steer us well clear of relegation if nothing else. And I thought we were going to get beat!
How many more games does ET have to win to keep his job now then? And how am I getting to the Birmingham game?
Copy from Football Unlimited of 30/12/2002.
Milner mania is yet to sweep the nation like the Wayne Rooney show and it has not reached the stage where Sky has got "a camera up his nose", as David Moyes puts it, but James Milner has shown enough of his precocious talent to suggest it is not going to be a passing fad.
Five days shy of his 17th birthday, the fledgling striker with sixth-form stubble and a post-match milkshake is two months younger and much slighter than Everton's wunderkind, but shares the same intrepid streak, a disregard for reputations and a fondness for embarrassing salubrious company. "The first time he trained with us he took the ball past three or four defenders and put it in the back of the net," recalls Harry Kewell. "We all just thought, wow!"
On Saturday Milner resisted Mario Stanic's attempts at bullying and displayed an appreciation of the game which prompted Claudio Ranieri to observe that "he plays with the brain of a 30-year-old". The teenager flits from one side of the field to the other, is equally adept with either foot, and there was a touch of Peter Lorimer about the manner in which he fashioned his second goal in three days, having ousted Rooney as the Premiership's youngest ever scorer at Sunderland on Boxing Day.
Copy from Football Unlimited of 29/12/2002.
What a way for Leeds United to say good riddance to 2002, a year of morale-sapping, money-draining, manager-sacking, table-falling, navel-gazing misery. The glow of a brighter future warmed the hearts of the faithful here, particularly in the prodigious shape of 16-year-old James Milner.
The Premiership's latest wonderboy became the youngest-ever scorer of two goals in three days. After his scrambled equaliser at Sunderland on Boxing Day, Milner took a flourishing bow in front of 40,000 admirers with a sublime strike to kill off Chelsea, and help his boyhood team to their first home win in the Premiership since September. His week's work is well worth the £80 he takes home as a scholar at the club's academy.
Terry Venables turns 60 tomorrow week, two days after young Milner celebrates his 17th birthday. Venables could have no better present than the vigour and imagination that Milner injects into a side who have embodied little of either during most of his spell as manager at Elland Road.