Keegan says he let Milner go

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The Independent Football

Newcastle boss Kevin Keegan today insisted it was his decision to sell James Milner to Aston Villa.

The 22-year-old this afternoon completed what is understood to be a £10m move to Villa Park when he signed a four-year contract two years after coming within minutes of joining the midlanders.

And Keegan, who had repeatedly expressed his desire to hold onto the England Under-21 international throughout a protracted saga, revealed it was he who ultimately sanctioned the deal.

Keegan said: "He's a player, in an ideal world, you would not want to lose, but I just want to make it absolutely clear that at the end of the day, it was my decision to sell him.

"We got an offer that I feel was his value. We are all aware James has had a difficult time - he almost signed for them once before and was dragged back.

"But he has always behaved impeccably. He's a fantastic professional, and there's no doubt about it, they've got an outstanding player and we have got to move on."

Keegan met owner Mike Ashley and executive director (football) Dennis Wise during the week to discuss the club's ongoing transfer dealings and contract matters, and speculation since has suggested they were not in complete agreement, something the manager was swift to deny.