Manchester United

James Garner reveals why he had to leave Man Utd

Toby Cudworth
James Garner in pre-season action for Manchester United
James Garner in pre-season action for Manchester United / Nathan Stirk/GettyImages

James Garner has spoken about why he left Manchester United on a permanent basis.

The 21-year-old spent the last two years out on loan in the Championship, playing for both Watford and Nottingham Forest before returning to Old Trafford in the summer.

But it quickly became apparent to Garner after a conversation with new United boss Erik ten Hag that he wouldn't be afforded many minutes in the first team.

Garner subsequently joined Everton in a deal that could end up being worth £15m to United, signing a four-year deal.

Now, in an interview with The Times, the central midfielder has opened up on the conversation he had with Ten Hag, and detailed why he felt the need to move on to avoid stagnating.

“In the moment it is very disappointing,” Garner said. “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,” he continued. “I had two good seasons on loan and returned to United in the summer.

“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.”

Garner is yet to establish himself as a first-team regular under Frank Lampard, making just six Premier League appearances to date.