HE might only be 18 years of age, but James Milner has already experienced more highs and lows than most footballers endure in a lifetime.

From the jubilation of becoming the Premiership's youngest ever goalscorer at Sunderland's Stadium of Light, to the despair of dropping out of the top-flight with his hometown club Leeds, Milner has tasted just about everything the game has to offer.

But, as he prepares to make his senior Newcastle debut later this month, the versatile midfielder admits to getting a few butterflies in his young stomach.

United chairman Freddy Shepherd is confident he has signed "one of the brightest prospects in the English game", but Milner knows he has plenty to prove at St James' Park.

Leeds' fans loved him because of who he was and where he had come from - the Geordie faithful will judge him out on the pitch.

"I'm nervous because it's a new club," admitted Milner, who signed a five-year deal on Tyneside after agreeing a move that could eventually cost Newcastle £5m. "But I'm already settling in.

"It's a strange experience. It's a bit like when I first went with the England schoolboys. It's a new place for me with new people, and it's a bit daunting.

"But Woody (Jonathan Woodgate) and Bow (Lee Bowyer) were at Leeds when I was coming through and I played a few times with Woody during my first season.

"I also knew a few lads through England as well - Steven Taylor, Darren Ambrose and Michael Chopra - so that's made things easier.

"Newcastle is a fantastic set-up and it's a massive club, so this is a great opportunity for me.

"Hopefully, I can become a better player and improve my game at Newcastle. This is a chance for me to stay in the Premiership and it's a new challenge."

Milner started last season on loan at Swindon Town, but he was quickly recalled by Elland Road boss Peter Reid and thrown straight into a Leeds side struggling to keep their heads above water in the Premiership.

He made 30 appearances as Leeds slipped out of the top-flight, displaying an honesty and professionalism lacking in some of his more illustrious colleagues.

Tottenham tried to take him to White Hart Lane at the start of the summer but, after he expressed a desire to stay in the north, Sir Bobby Robson finally made him his first summer signing on July 2.

Milner made the left midfield role his own at Elland Road but, upon moving to the North-East, he has joined a United squad packed with midfield options.

Laurent Robert spent most of last season on the left flank, while Kieron Dyer, Jermaine Jenas and Darren Ambrose have all filled the role in the past.

"There are some great players at the club and I know that it's going to be very difficult to get a game," admitted Milner.

"I want to do as well as I can for Newcastle, but it's going to be hard to get into the side and stay there. I'm under no illusions about that.

"My aim is to play as many games as I can - if I'm in the side then I'll know things are going well.

"I want to help the club win trophies. Last season was a very difficult one for me for a lot of reasons, but I'm not kidding myself that this year is going to be any easier.

"It's a big step up for me, but I'm ready to make that leap."

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