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Milner just the man to fit in with rule change

21 May 2010 08:27:20

| Submit Comments| Comments (14)| Printable Version1/1Play SlideshowClose MapJames Milner with his PFA Young Player of the Year awardManchester City's £25m bid for James Milner is driven by much more than a desire to bring one of England's brightest young prospects to the club. The Blues also have one eye on new Premier League rules which come into force next season, which require every club to name a squad of 25 by the August 31 transfer deadline. Of those 25, eight have to be "home-grown", which means they need to have been trained by an English or Welsh club for three years before the age of 21. Clubs will also be able to name a second list, consisting of under-21 players, which has no limits, and from which players may be selected at any time. The new system has been introduced to encourage clubs to develop their own players, in the hope it will benefit England in the long run. But the "home-grown" element do not have to be English - for example, Slovakian winger Vladimir Weiss and Belgian defender Dedryck Boyata will eventually qualify as home-grown. The Blues will not be unduly affected by the rules, as they already have a solid core of first-team players who qualify. From the current squad, Gareth Barry, Craig Bellamy, Wayne Bridge, Shay Given, Joe Hart, Stevie Ireland, Adam Johnson, Michael Johnson, Joleon Lescott, Nedum Onuoha and Micah Richards would all fit the bill. But doubts remain over the futures of several of those players, with Bellamy and Richards strongly linked to Spurs, Ireland wanted by Arsenal and Liverpool, Bridge finishing the season out of favour, and Given and Michael Johnson injured and not expected to start the season. City have plenty of promising youngsters who could top-up the home-grown quota, such as Weiss, Boyata, Alex Nimely, Abdi Ibrahim, and Greg Cunningham. But those players would also qualify for the second, limitless list. Blues squad Ideally, the Blues will name a strong, 25-man squad of over-21s, and put all of their under-21 players on the second list. They will also have to name a 25-man squad for the Europa League, expected to be the same names. But if two or three of the "home-grown" element leave the club, the Blues would be wise to replace them with English stars - like Milner. Manager Roberto Mancini is known to be keen on bringing in two or three foreign stars, with German defender Jerome Boateng already on his way, and bids for Brazilian David Luiz, and possibly Swedish ace Zlatan Ibrahimovic also in the pipeline. Those kind of buys would undoubtedly strengthen the team, but it would weaken the home-grown core of the club. The new rules require clubs to keep a careful eye on how many non-home-grown players they bring in to the club. Liverpool have a headache, as they have to try to cram 23 foreign professionals into the 17 slots available to them. City have no such problem, with just 16 current foreign pros, namely Emmanuel Adebayor, Benjani, Valeri Bojinov, Felipe Caicedo, Nigel de Jong, Jo, Vincent Kompany, Gunnar Nielsen, Martin Petrov, Robinho, Roque Santa Cruz, Sylvinho, Carlos Tevez, Kolo Toure, Patrick Vieira and Pablo Zabaleta. With Benjani and Petrov expected to be released, and Bojinov, Caicedo, Jo and Robinho all set to be either sold or again loaned out, there is plenty of leeway. Milner fits City's bill perfectly. At 23, he fits the age profile the Blues want, he has a reputation as a dedicated professional, and can play in several positions - something on which Mancini is very keen. He has played most of this season at Aston Villa as a central midfielder, but City see him as a possible replacement for Bellamy, meaning he could play on the left, or switch with Adam Johnson on the right, as well as adding some dynamism to the central areas. Now, he will also count in City's favour as another home-grown player, both for Premier League and Europa League purposes. Do you agree with the new squad rules? Have your say.| Submit Comments| Comments (14)| Printable VersionAdd A CommentEnter your comments:Type your comment here...


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