Milner aims to spread his wings and strike home

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The Independent Football

The Newcastle winger James Milner has responded to the challenge of his manager, Glenn Roeder, to start scoring as well as creating goals. The 21-year-old struck his only goal of the season so far on New Year's Day with a fine 20-yard shot against Manchester United, and the former Leeds player has managed just four goals in 81 appearances for Newcastle.

Although Milner has been creating chances, Roeder believes the England Under-21 international has the ability to contribute more directly.

"I would like to score more goals and I work hard on the training pitch to do that," said the player. Unfortunately it is one of those seasons, but I am happy and feel I am contributing by creating goals too.

"But I have got one against Manchester United -- now I want three or four to follow."

Milner will hope to make an impactat Tottenham today and he is up against two former Leeds team-mates in Paul Robinson and Aaron Lennon. The Spurs right-winger came through the ranks at Elland Road and is now fully recovered from his knee injury, and Milner is more aware than anyone of just how much of a threat the 19-year-old could pose.

"I know Aaron Lennon very well after coming through the ranks together at Leeds and obviously playing for England at youth level," said Milner. "He is a fantastic player. He has great ability and he can go past players with ease.

"I used to enjoy playing with Aaron because we were on the same wavelength. Sometimes you just click with certain players and we used to do exactly that.

"But for this one game, I hope he does not do too well. After that, it would be great to see him continue the way he has been playing because we are good friends and it is good to see him doing well in life.

"He went to the World Cup and shocked a few people, but he did not shock me or the people who know him because we know what he can do. We all know the quality he has."

The Dutch winger Andy van der Meyde aims to put a season of off-the-field problems behind him and remind people of the skills that made his name at Internazionale. The 27-year-old Van der Meyde has been in the newsfor all the wrong reasons since his move from Serie A 18 months ago.

Burglaries at his home, the theft of his pet dog and disciplinary problems over a nightclub incident have blighted Van der Meyde's time at Goodison Park, where injuries have seen him sidelined for long periods. But in the last couple of months he has begun to show the talent which made him a successful product of the Ajax youth system. His display against Blackburn in last weekend's 4-1 FA Cup defeat was one of the few bright spots for Everton. It was only his fifth start of the season and his first full 90 minutes of the campaign.

"I managed to run at players and try to take them on a bit more against Blackburn, that is what I have done throughout my career," said Van der Meyde, who can expect to start against Reading at Goodison Park today.

"But because I have been unlucky with injuries, the supporters have had to wait a long time to see the real Andy van der Meyde. I appreciate the fact that they still believe in me and I now want to give something back to them."