Garner explains why he had to leave Man Utd for Everton in £15m transfer

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James Garner Everton 2022-23
James Garner has explained why he had no choice but to leave Manchester United and complete a £15 million ($17m) summer transfer to Everton.
  • Midfielder spent many years with Red Devils
  • First-team opportunities were limited
  • Made permanent move after Forest loan spells

WHAT HAPPENED? The England U21 international midfielder always appeared destined to head for the exits at Old Trafford in the last transfer window, having seen his stock soar across two productive loan spells at Nottingham Forest. Severing ties with his boyhood club was not easy for the 21-year-old, but he admits that staying put would have stunted his progress as he was clearly never going to be a regular under new Red Devils boss Erik ten Hag,

WHAT THEY SAID: Garner has told The Times on a big career call: “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.

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.”

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THE BIGGER PICTURE: Garner took in 69 appearances for Forest during his two spells on Trentside, helping them to bring a 23-year wait for top-flight football to a close when securing promotion out of the Championship last season.


James Garner - Manchester United 2021/22

James Garner Nottingham Forest 2021-22

James Garner England U21 2022

WHAT NEXT? Frank Lampard has looked to ease Birkenhead native Garner into life at Goodison Park, with only six Premier League appearances off the bench taken in, but there is more potential in his game to be unlocked and the intention is to prove that United were wrong to overlook him for so long.