Miller not given warnings about lateness, says agent

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The Independent Football

Liam Miller's agent Eamon McLoughlin last night responded to Roy Keane's explanation for placing the Sunderland midfielder on the transfer list on Wednesday morning. Keane said yesterday that Miller has been late for training repeatedly since he joined the club in August 2006, though the Sunderland manager implied that Miller may yet have a future at the club.

Miller is not denying that he has been late, but McLoughlin wanted to give some context to what has occurred and he

is obviously fearful for what the last 48 hours have done to Miller’s reputation.

“Wednesday’s decision by the club is very disappointing,” McLoughlin said. “We accept that Liam was late three times

in the past week but on two of those occasions the situation was out of his control, one of these was a well-

publicised incident on the A19.

“The implication is that Liam is indisciplined and not fully committed to his job at Sunderland. I do not want to

start a public row with the manager but I can’t let that pass, Liam is not unprofessional and I think people who

know him know that. In 18 months at the club Liam has been late seven times in total, but most are by a matter of

minutes. The latest was half and hour when Liam and Stephen Elliott got a training session start-time wrong last


“Liam is not casual in his approach to his profession and for the sake of his career, we need people to know that,

at Sunderland and elsewhere. We have to accept the manager’s decision but Liam’s disappointed not least because it

damages his reputation in the eyes of fans at Sunderland and beyond.

“Another damaging thing is that the club’s website yesterday referred to repeated warnings that Liam was given about

timekeeping, but that is not correct.

“If the punishment fitted the crime Liam could accept this more easily, but he doesn’t think it does. He’d still

love to play for Sunderland but that is obviously not his decision to make.”

Keane, who watched Miller playing for Sunderland reserves on Wednesday night at Bolton – Keane said yesterday that

Miller was “the best player on the pitch” – had made the decision on Wednesday morning to transfer list the 27 year-

old midfielder.

As yet there are no offers and Keane said that if none were to come then as long as Miller “is under this roof” he

retains a chance of resurrecting his career on Wearside. Keane said it is “highly unlikely” that Miller will be in

the Sunderland squad for tomorrow’s match at Derby.

“It’s Liam's timekeeping,” Keane said of the reason behind his decision. “It’s nothing to do with him as a player or

as a lad. In any walk of life you have to be on time. If he is late once or twice, even three or four times, maybe

well and good, but when it is five, six or seven times then you have to draw the line. We had incidents last year,?

where players were late for the bus, and you move on.”?

Keane said he does not think Miller is unsettled on Wearside, but added: “I have to set the standards at the club

and, believe it or not, I don't go around with a stick, threatening people. We have given players the benefit of the

doubt, a lot of players, but there comes a time when you say enough’s enough.

“If you are driving to work, don't get in the car with Liam Miller, because he has more car crashes than anyone I