James Milner reminisces about Leeds United debut with nostalgic post

Leeds United academy product James Milner made his debut for the club 16 years ago this week.
Leeds United academy product James Milner made his debut for the club 16 years ago this week.
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Former Leeds United player James Milner made his debut for the Whites 16 years ago this week - and it appears he hasn't forgotten.

The Liverpool midfielder posted on his official Instagram account to mark the occasion with the United academy product having made his debut for the club against West Ham United on November 10, 2002 - 16 years ago on Saturday.

Milner came on against the Hammers for the final six minutes of a thrilling 4-3 victory at Upton Park after he replaced winger Jason Wilcox. The substitute appearance made him the second youngest ever Premier League player at the age of just 16 years and 309 days.

The now 33-year-old would go on to become the youngest ever goalscorer in the top flight, a record that stood for three years, as he bagged in a 2-1 win over Sunderland at the Stadium of Light on Boxing Day just a month later.

The Wortley-born star, who now plys his trade for Jurgen Klopp's Reds, opened up over his exit from West Yorkshire earlier this year revealing that his move to Newcastle in 2004, just two years on from his first Leeds appearance, came as a shock to him and his family believing he was set for discussions over an extended contract.

“It was a very tough time to get relegated and there were a lot of financial things going on – things in the papers, off-field problems… you had to grow up quickly by watching the senior players and how they were dealing with everything," Milner told FourFourTwo.

“As hard as it was, I learned a lot very quickly. Within two years I’d had numerous managers, and highs and lows. By the start of my second season, Peter Reid had come in and I was sent on loan to Swindon. I did quite well there, went back to Leeds and started playing in every game.

“But then, in 2004, I turned up on the first day of pre-season thinking we were going to discuss a new contract, and someone said: ‘You’re going up to Newcastle for your medical tomorrow’. I was like: ‘Am I?’ That was tough. “It was disappointing that I didn’t get to play for Leeds for longer, but to do it at all was pretty special.”