Milner stakes World Cup claim with vital winner


JAMES MILNER helped fire Aston Villa back into top four contention – while also firing a timely reminder to England boss Fabio Capello.

The midfielder blasted home a winner from 25 yards to take Villa to within three points of fourth-placed Tottenham with a game in hand.

But is also gave Capello a welcome nudge in a week where he lost the services of David Beckham for this summer’s World Cup.

Villa were gifted a 25th minute opener by Wigan’s James McCarthy, who inexplicably volleyed into his own net before Gary Caldwell levelled for the Latics just two minutes later after heading home Charles N’Zogbia’s free-kick.

Villa, however, were always in control and, on 63 minutes, Milner rifled home from long range to wrap up the points.

Boss Martin O’Neill celebrated his first win in the league in the month of March for a decade, and said: “We’re hanging in there for the chase for fourth spot. It’s a difficult run-in for us but we’re excited by it.”