The centre-back said: “I remember playing against James Milner at a very early age and he stood out, it was in a youth team game at Bodymoor, before we were full-time, he was playing for Leeds at the time.”
The England international pair, both 29, would have been progressing through the youth ranks of their respective clubs at the same time, although Milner did make his professional debut for Leeds United earlier than Cahill did for Villa.
Milner was always regarded as a bright prospect, and it is no surprise he would have stood out as an attacking talent whilst only a youngster. He received widespread acclaim for his creative abilities in the early days of his career, having broken the record for youngest Premier League goalscorer - which has since been broken again - but he has become more and more reserved in the following years.
With his future at Leeds set to continue for many years, it was the club’s misfortune off the field of play that forced him to move to Tyneside, just as much as the bad performances on it. As the club were relegated from the top flight, he left against his wishes to help the club survive financially.
If Cahill could recognise Milner’s talents at such a young age, it is no surprise that the current Manchester City star would go on to have a great career.
The duo would go on to play together, not just for England, but sharing a spell at Villa Park in at the 2006/06 season, whilst Milner was on loan from Newcastle United.