Milner plans future with Leeds

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The Independent Online

At least one Leeds United player is not hoping to leave Elland Road as soon as possible. James Milner is to begin talks next week on a new contract, having made it clear he wants to remain at the club to help them attempt an immediate return to the Premier League next season.

At least one Leeds United player is not hoping to leave Elland Road as soon as possible. James Milner is to begin talks next week on a new contract, having made it clear he wants to remain at the club to help them attempt an immediate return to the Premier League next season.

The 18-year-old winger spurned a substantial offer from Tottenham, with the White Hart Lane club understood to have bid £4m. But Milner turned his back on Spurs, and as it has since transpired, the opportunity of working with Jacques Santini, the new Tottenham manager.

Milner feels he would be better served continuing to learn his trade at Leeds, although with the club in desperate need of money to ease their £60m debts, a northern club could still prise away the England Under-21 international.

For now, Milner is on course for a pay rise after triggering a clause in his contract by playing a certain number of games. He is one of the lowest-paid first-team players at Elland Road, earning around £4,000 a week, but can expect to receive a five-figure sum when he and agent Mick McGuire, the deputy chief executive of the Professional Footballers' Association, open negotiations.

Leeds, meanwhile, are not giving up on their hopes of landing the Port Vale striker Steve McPhee, despite their initial offer being condemned by the Vale chairman, Bill Bratt. Leeds had what they saw as "a sensible and realistic offer" for McPhee rejected as "not even worth considering" by Bratt.

McPhee, who scored 27 goals last season, is out of contract but is not available on a Bosman deal unless he moves abroad because he is under 24 years old. McPhee has been offered a new contract by Vale, and he has to give them an answer on whether he will sign by next Thursday, but has also spoken with Portuguese First Division side Beira Mar, now managed by Mick Wadsworth.

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