Former Manchester United midfielder explains why he left the club last year

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Former Manchester United star James Garner has revealed he decided to leave the club over lack of assurances of playing time.

The Red Devils academy graduate impressed in a series of loans away from the club, mainly with Nottingham Forest who he helped to win promotion in 2021/2022.

But he was left with a bitter taste in his mouth after a blunt talk with United boss Erik ten Hag in the summer of 2022.

Despite hoping to be part of the first team, Garner’s hopes were dashed as he eventually joined Everton weeks later for an initial fee of £9million

“When I came back to United, I felt like I had a good enough season to have a shot. But unfortunately I got injured on the first day and it set me back two or three weeks, so the manager did not get to see me in training and games,” Garner told BBC Sport.

“It was a decision where – after having two seasons in men’s football – I wanted to be part of a team and squad, ideally starting too. I knew I wasn’t going to get that at United so I made the decision to move here.

“Ten Hag is a very approachable guy but is very strict. He takes no-one bending the rules. He will say it how it is and will punish people if they have done the wrong things. My talk with him was easy.

“I asked him plain and simple whether I was going to be in the squad or if he saw me playing a part. I felt the conversation did not go as well as I wanted and I made the decision to move.”

Despite suffering an injury-ravaged first year on Merseyside, the midfielder still made 17 appearances in all competitions as Everton staged a great escape from relegation.

Toffees boss Sean Dyche has continued to place his trust in Garner, with the 22-year-old featuring in all five of their games this campaign.

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