Kamal Miller on reuniting with Phil Neville: He's a great person on and off the field

  • Miller joined Portland via trade earlier in the offseason
  • Phil Neville was Miller's coach during his time with Miami
  • The central defender praised Neville for constantly having his players' backs

Miller is reunited with Phil Neville
Miller is reunited with Phil Neville / Aaron Dosteri-USA TODAY Sports

Kamal Miller's recent trade from Inter Miami to Portland Timbers reunited him with former head coach Phil Neville, as he praised the former Everton figure for standing up for his players during tough times.

Miller, a Canada international, was originally traded to Miami last April from CF Montreal, where he first linked up with Neville at DRV PNK Stadium. Neville's run with the Herons was cut short last summer before the arrival of the legendary Lionel Messi; but now he and Miller have reunited at Portland ahead of the 2024 MLS season.

"Yeah, it's amazing, it's amazing to have that," Miller said exclusively to 90min. "It's something that  every player desires and chases, having a boss that will back you and put his own name and  reputation on the line before throwing you under the bus."

"It allows you to play free, play with confidence and that's when you get the best out of players is  when they're in that mental state of security and love, which is rare in the sport," he continued. "So to have that again and be reunited with Phil, it's amazing. He's a great person on and off the field, and yeah I'm just happy to be reunited with him again."

While Neville's managerial career has taken some sharp turns here and there, he still holds himself to a high standard and expects to win - just like he did during his playing days where he won a Champions League title, six Premier League titles and three FA Cups - which translates into his expectations for his players.

"Expectations are high," Miller said of what it's like playing under Neville. "When he was a player, he  won everything, did very well at all levels he was at and was part of an elite group in England where  they achieved everything. So he's a winner, and he expects that and he treats you as as such. He just  expects the top level and the best best out of you every day, no matter what."

Upon being traded to the Timbers and realizing what was in store for him, Miller explained that he reached out to several former and current players that in turn had plenty of great things to say about the Western Conference club.

"I spoke to a couple former players and guys who are currently there  and they have nothing but  good things to say about the club, and everything around the club and overall it just takes a special  player and person to win over over the Timbers Army. So that's my goal, I really want to win them over and leave a great legacy at the club for as long as I'm there," said Miller.

Portland begin their 2024 MLS campaign at Providence Park against Colorado Rapids on February 24, pitting two first-year bosses together in Neville and Chris Armas.