Football

O'Neill hails 'brilliant' Milner

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Aston Villa manager Martin O'Neill has backed James Milner to have a glittering England career after the midfielder was called up to the senior squad for next week's friendly against Spain.

Milner capped an impressive display in Villa's 2-0 victory against Blackburn at Ewood Park with his fifth goal of the season. Gabriel Agbonlahor settled matters on the stroke of full-time to seal a club record seventh successive away win.

"He (Milner) has been brilliant," said the Villa boss. "He has come on strong."

O'Neill added: "He scored a goal, missed a goal from a yard and a half and I will remind him of that. But I cannot think of anything else that did not warrant praise."

O'Neill, joking that Milner had played for England Under-21s "7,000 times", added: "He has played more for them than he has for us and that includes his time on loan.

"But he has piles of time on his side. He will be on the plane for South Africa (for the World Cup), that is the main thing."

Milner made the breakthrough following a clever one-two with Gareth Barry from a corner. Blackburn failed to pick up his run and Milner rifled a shot into the corner.

Villa maintained the momentum but only sealed victory right at the death when Agbonlahor's effort spun off Ryan Nelsen and into the net.

Even though his side stretched their unbeaten run to 13 matches, O'Neill is refusing to get carried away.

He said: "I am delighted of course but I am not targeting anything. We are going great and deserve to be where we are. But we really must try and keep this momentum going. That is essential."

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Topics:
Gabriel Agbonlahor
Football
Blackburn Rovers
James Milner
Gareth Barry
Premier League
Ryan Nelsen
Aston Villa

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