O'Neill will monitor Milner
Villa boss is keeping a watchful eye on hard-working midfielder
Last Updated: April 8, 2010 8:33pm
Milner: Fit and ready
Aston Villa boss Martin O'Neill will monitor James Milner's fitness in the interests of club and country.
Milner was rested in the 1-0 win over Bolton last week in a bid to avoid worsening his sore Achilles.
O'Neill is well aware of the hectic season the talented winger has had and knows only too well that that is set to continue in the summer.
Milner is a strong contender for the England squad in the World Cup which is now only two months away.
He is also key to Villa's campaign as they prepare for the FA Cup semi-final with Chelsea and the Premier League run-in with an outside chance of qualifying for the UEFA Champions League.
"James is keen to play and that is always very important," he said.
"He had the chance to rest up last week and it will be great for us to have him.
"He has been going non-stop since last summer. He is an extremely fit lad.
"He is as fit as any player in the Premier League but we have had to try and look after that fitness. He is a fellow who would love to train every single day.
"But there are some days that I think, because of niggling injuries, you can miss a day or two and still feel as if you have not missed something in training."
Milner played a large part in England's Under-21 European Championship campaign last summer which O'Neill says will have pushed him to his limits on the pitch.
A deserved break
"A couple of weeks ago we gave him four or five days off remembering he had no proper break last summer," said O'Neill.
"We have been trying to monitor things, as much for England's benefit as our own but, primarily, from our own perspective."
He added: "He is similar to Wayne Rooney in that he wants to train all the time and play every game and sometimes, even for his own good, it might be better if he could take that rest for a day or two.
"I think he accepts that now but he is as fit as anyone."