Leicester City’s Matty James has admitted it was difficult to turn down a contract offer from Manchester United but felt it was the right thing to do for his career.
James joined Manchester United’s academy back in 2007 when he was a 14-year-old and signed his first professional contract with the club in 2009 before being sent out on two separate loan spells to Preston North End.
Then in 2012, alongside Richie De Laet, James decided to reject a new contract offer from United in a decision that has since been vindicated following Leicester’s promotion to the Premier League this year.
In the blue shirt of Leicester, James will finally fulfil a dream of playing at Old Trafford but he told the Leicester Mercury it would be a strange feeling for him.
“It was a difficult decision. I was coming off the back of quite a bad injury and I didn’t know where my future lay,” he said.
“United offered me a contract but it wasn’t enough in terms of security. I was a little nervous about staying.
“I spoke to my family, because we knew Leicester were interested. It is a club with great ambition and tradition, fantastic support and I knew it was a Premier League club in the making. It was just a question of how long it would take.
“I knew it wouldn’t take long and I thought it was going to be last season.
“I knew when I signed here I could give it a really good go and the dream has come true. It will be a little weird to run out at Old Trafford next season.
“It was always my dream to run out as a United player, but now to run out as a Premier League player will be amazing.
“It will be a great day for all my family and I am sure it will be for all the lads here as well.”
Manchester United might not have brought through a lot of youngsters into the first team recently but there have been a plethora of academy graduates who have gone on to have successful careers elsewhere.
Fair play to James for having the courage to turn down a contract offer he didn’t feel was right for him at United because he has certainly done well in the two years since he left the club.