The PFA backing Milner

The Professional Footballers' Association insist the Newcastle midfielder James Milner has remained "professional" in his attitude after handing in a transfer request.

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Newcastle have expressed their disappointment after revealing the player had requested permission to seek a move. Milner, who only signed a four-year contract last summer, has been linked with a £9million (Dh60.5m) move to Aston Villa, where he spent a season on loan in 2005-06.

The Magpies have agreed to "reluctantly consider" the request which the winger, according to the PFA chief executive Mick McGuire, handed in because he feels he is worthy of an extended and improved deal. "The PFA, who represent James Milner, are disappointed that information regarding his request for a move, and the circumstances surrounding it, have come to the public's attention," McGuire said.

"The facts are that James' request was actually handed in on August 20, at which point it was asked by Newcastle to keep the matter private. "The request was given because the player was looking for an improvement on his contract that reflected his development and his value to the club. "James did sign a contract 12 months ago. However, this agreement was reached with the club nearly 12 months previous at the point at which they had agreed to sell James to Aston Villa on the transfer deadline day in 2006 before cancelling at the 11th hour."

* PA Sport