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Milner aiming to be middle man

Milner signs for City

Milner signs for City

James Milner is eyeing a place at the heart of City's midfield as he prepares to chase his dream of a Premier League winner's medal following his move from Aston Villa.

Manager Roberto Mancini pinpointed the England player's versatility as a key factor in his pursuit of Milner following the summer arrivals of Jerome Boateng, Yaya Toure, Aleksandar Kolarov, David Silva and Mario Bolatelli.

But 24-year-old James is warning his former Villa team-mate Gareth Barry and City's other top linkmen that he aims to play a central role when his Blues career kicks off against visitors Liverpool on Monday night.

Milner, who switched from the flank to the middle with notable success at Villa, said: "Wherever the manager wants me to play, I'll do it to the best of my ability.

"But I enjoy playing in the middle - that's probably my best position and where I've shown by best form over the past 18 months. I've been most creative and scored goals from there and I've enjoyed it immensely.

"I think that's where the boss has signed me to play, but if he asks me to play anywhere else I'll do what is best for the team.

As long as we're winning football matches, that's all that counts



Not that he is taking a starting place for granted: "You need competition at any successful club, because if players are comfortable whether they play well or not then performances are going to slip.

"You need players pushing each other every day to step out on that pitch, and if you know you are going to be replaced if you don't perform, then that's healthy for the team."

James, who links up with another former Villa pal in goalkeeper Stuart Taylor, received a rousing weekend farewell from Villa fans and expects Stephen Ireland, whose No.7 shirt he inherits, to go down a storm there.

He said: "I enjoyed every second there and the fans were brilliant to me. Stephen's a good player who gives his all and was loved by the fans here with good reason. Hopefully I can show them what I'm all about."

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