James Garner has opened up on why he felt he needed to leave Manchester United for Everton in the summer.
The 21-year-old was tipped to break into Man Utd’s first team this season following two highly-fruitful stints on loan at Nottingham Forest, during which time he helped Steve Cooper’s men secure promotion to the Premier League back in May.
A precision passer with neat-and-nimble feet, many felt Garner’s ball-playing qualities would have brought a new dimension to Man Utd’s midfield, particularly under a manager renowned for his development of academy talent in Erik ten Hag.
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However, following the signings of Casemiro and Christian Eriksen, Garner’s pathway to the first team took a significant dent, leading to a departure at the start of September to Everton, where he has gone on to make six substituted appearances in the Premier League.
Garner has now shed light on his decision to sever ties with the club he joined as a schoolboy, admitting he was ‘disappointed’ with how things transpired, but that his motivation to leave was fuelled purely by a desire to further his career.
He told The Times: “In the moment it is very disappointing. That was the club that I trained with five times a week for years and years and years, that I made my debut with. But I didn’t want to stagnate. I didn’t want to stay there really and when they said I could leave also, I was in agreement with that. I just think it all made sense. I had two good seasons on loan and returned to United in the summer.
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“I know in myself I wouldn’t have played if I had stayed. I knew it was the perfect time now, at 21, to move on and try and stake my claim somewhere else and hopefully find a home, which I have now in Everton.
“Where I am at in my career now, I didn’t just want to be an extra body or I didn’t want to just be a spare player in training. Last season, I was one of the main players in Forest’s team and that is what I want to be. I don’t want to be just another player who is there for numbers in training. I want to be a main part of the team whether that is a starter or coming off the bench.”