x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 28 July 2017

Milner in Villa squad after talks

James Milner has been included in Aston Villa's squad for the Guadiana Cup in Portugal this weekend after holding "amicable" talks with Martin O'Neill, the club manager.

BIRMINGHAM, ENGLAND //James Milner has been included in Aston Villa's squad for the Guadiana Cup in Portugal this weekend after holding "amicable" talks with Martin O'Neill, the club manager. The England midfielder was reported to be upset last week after O'Neill had said the former Newcastle player had "intimated" he wanted to leave Villa. However, the Villa boss and Paul Faulkner, the club chief executive, met Milner after training yesterday.

Villa issued a statement which reads: "James Milner trained with the rest of the Villa squad at Bodymoor Heath. He and the manager, along with chief executive Paul Faulkner and the player's representative, Matthew Buck, had an amicable conversation." The statement continued: "While James will not play in [Tuesday's] game at Walsall, he will fly with the squad to Portugal on Wednesday ahead of the Guadiana Cup in which Villa will compete with Benfica and Feyenoord this weekend."

Milner has been the subject of one £20 million (Dh113,715m) bid already from Manchester City which was rejected by the Midlands club. Roberto Mancini, the City boss, has hinted that the protracted transfer of Mario Balotelli from Inter Milan could be due to the teenage striker's over-inflated price-tag but believes everything will be resolved in the next 48 hours. Balotelli has long been linked with a move to City and reports in Italy suggest the Premier League club have agreed a fee for the 19-year-old, who Inter claimed they would not sell for less than ?35m (Dh166m).

Mancini is keen to be reunited with Balotelli, who he snapped up as Inter coach in 2006, but insists they will not pay over the odds for anybody. "There is the money to buy anyone but not to pay them a lot as some people are saying," Mancini said. * PA