Venables wrote in the Independent: "I remember giving James his debut for Leeds when he was just 16. But there was a home game against West Ham a few months later, when James had just turned 17, that stays in the memory.
"We were struggling a bit at the time and we didn't have any strikers. So I put a big midfielder up front - Eirik Bakke - with James up with him, rather than just being a wide player. And he was terrific. We won 1-0.
"That is the versatility that has made Milner such a success. He has always been a good lad and a ferocious hard worker. He wanted to be a player and you knew that he would be."
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