Milner rues 'tough' Toon term
James Milner feels that his former club Newcastle United have paid the price for the off-the-field uncertainty on Tyneside. The Magpies have endured a difficult campaign after ex-boss Kevin Keegan left the side last September and then owner Mike Ashley's position came under scrutiny. Keegan's replacement, Joe Kinnear, has since undergone a triple heart bypass operation and current interim coach Alan Shearer has been drafted in. Milner, who left St James' Park for Aston Villa last summer, is set to meet Newcastle on the final day of the season but hopes that the relegation-threatened club will have avoided the drop by then. The winger said in The Sun: "I've been receiving texts about the last game of the season saying 'what if you score and send Newcastle down?' "I'm a Villa player and it could happen so I'd like them to be safe by then. Not ideal"Stranger things have happened and, hopefully, Alan Shearer can work his magic and get them out of it. "I still know Alan Smith and Steve Harper - and the staff are a great bunch. "There's a lot of experience there, it shows though when things happen off the field, it doesn't help. "It was the same when I was at Leeds. It's tough to play. People are always asking questions about what happens off the field rather than coming in and concentrating on football. As a player, it's not ideal. "Maybe that might be one reason why things aren't happening at Newcastle. There's been a lot of managers in a short space of time. "I hope Shearer has the same ability as a boss that he had as a player. I hope he does it for them."
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