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Leeds clash ´tough´ for Milner family

Manchester City midfielder James Milner is looking forward to an emotional FA Cup tie against Leeds on Sunday.

Manchester City midfielder James Milner is looking forward to an emotional FA Cup tie against Leeds on Sunday.

The 27-year-old was sold by the Whites to Newcastle in 2004 after the club were relegated from the Premier League, but reveals his family are all still fans of Neil Warnock’s side despite going to watch him play at the Etihad Stadium instead.

And while the Milner clan may have split loyalties on the day, the England international is intent on helping Roberto Mancini’s men win after slipping 12 points behind rivals Manchester United in the league title race following their defeat to Southampton.

“All of my family are Leeds fans and it’s going to be tough for them,” he told reporters.

“My mum and dad had season tickets for years, but they gave them up when I left because they come to watch me.

“I have only been back to Elland Road once since I left to play for England Under-21s – and I don’t think we won. I am glad that they seem to be on the way back up. I believe they should be in the Premier League.

“But I’ll do everything I can to make sure that we win the game. Losing any game is a massive blow and the ¬performance against ¬Southampton was nowhere near the standards we have set ourselves.

“We have to bounce back by winning against Leeds. We have the ability to do it.”

Milner revealed the extent of his pain when he had to leave Leeds prematurely so that the club could balance their books after spending big to earn Champions League qualification, and he regretted leaving the club at the time.

“When I went in for the first day of pre-season training, they just told me that I was going up to Newcastle for a medical,” Milner revealed.

“The club needed the money and it was the right thing to do. I am a Leeds lad, a Leeds fan, and the only disappointment I have is that I didn’t get to play for them a bit longer.”

And although he is Leeds born and bred, he is still unsure of how the away fans will take to him on Sunday – but suggested it is simply part and parcel of the modern game.

“I don’t know what kind of reception I will get,” he continued.

“I know what they thought when Alan Smith joined (Manchester) United, but you are always going to have some fans who love you and some that hate you. That’s football.”
Sun 17 February, 2013
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