James Garner explains decision to leave Man Utd and lifts lid on ‘strict’ Erik ten Hag

FORMER Manchester United midfielder James Garner has admitted he had no choice but to leave Old Trafford last summer to join Everton.

The 22-year-old also has also spilled the beans on Erik ten Hag being a “very strict” boss.

GettyJames Garner opens up about why he left Man Utd[/caption]

AFPGarner says former boss Erik ten Hag was ‘very strict’[/caption]

The Manchester United academy graduate had a remarkable loan spell at Nottingham Forest in the 2021/22 campaign helping the squad clinch promotion from the Championship.

This left many United fans eagerly wanting to see Garner take the stage at Old Trafford.

Ten Hag had built a reputation for pursuing the development of young players at Ajax and many hoped Garner would benefit from that.

But the midfielder suffered an injury on his first day of pre-season meaning Ten Hag did not get the chance to inspect the playmaker.

Instead of offering Garner out on loan again the Red Devils decided to sell him on the final day of last summer’s transfer window to the Toffees.

He joined Everton on a four-year deal crushing his hopes of a future at Man Utd – but looking back, Garner is happy about the decision.

He told BBC Sport: “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.

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“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.

“I could have gone on loan again and come back but I felt I would have been in the exact same position I was then.

“I didn’t want to be stuck in the mud, I needed to make a decision to leave one of the best clubs in the world, which was hard, but it is one I am happy I made.”

Garner has made 22 appearances for Everton after being signed over a year ago by Frank Lampard but is now playing under Sean Dyche.

Dyche’s strict form is very similar to Ten Hag’s character according to the midfielder.

He continued: “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.”

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