England Under-21 midfielder James Milner has revealed how Graeme Souness' remarks at Newcastle was among the setbacks making him a stronger player mentally.
The 23-year-old midfielder played for his beloved Leeds when they imploded, then moved to St James' Park where boss Souness said he would not be "buying a team of James Milners".
"It's not an ideal thing for your manager to say," Milner said. "The mentality from me was to prove him wrong, that is all you can do as a player. It's down to you to prove your ability and show those people who don't rate you that they are wrong."
He added: "You remember the lows more than the highs I suppose and it is how you learn from those."
It is only this season at Aston Villa where Milner has felt stability and it has coincided with a call-up to the England senior squad and playing a key role in the under-21s reaching the semi-finals of the European Championships in Sweden.
"Those setbacks help you mentally," Milner said. "It's how you show your character."
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