Burnley defender Michael Keane has revealed the reason behind his decision to quit Manchester United earlier this month, after being informed by manager Louis van Gaal that regular first-team football would be difficult to come by at Old Trafford.
The England U21 international - who spent the first half of the season on loan with the Clarets - made his temporary Turf Moor transfer permanent last week, and in doing so brought to an end a 12-year playing career with the Red Devils.
Keane admitted it was very difficult to leave the Theatre of Dreams, but said that the opportunity to secure consistent Premier League action meant that it was a pretty easy conclusion to make.
"It was a big decision," confirmed the 21-year-old in a BT Sport interview. "I spoke to my family about it for ages because I had been there for nearly 12 years now.
"But I felt it was the right time, especially as I am playing regularly and I wouldn't get that at United at the minute."
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Given Van Gaal's proven track record of nurturing and developing young talent, some might question whether Keane has made the right choice linking up with Sean Dyche's side permanently, particularly when you consider their top-flight status is still hanging in the balance.
The Dutchman's philosophy has seen debuts handed to emerging players like Tyler Blackett and Paddy McNair, former Development squad teammates of Keane who, despite impressing on the club's pre-season tour of the United States, found himself farmed out at the start of 2014/15.
He said that after missing the opportunity to prove himself at Manchester United in the early part of the campaign it feels as though he's fallen further down the pecking order, and that was decisive in his eventual decision to commit to Burnley.
"They didn't force me out, but they said if everyone is fit there I wouldn't be starting games," Keane explained. "I thought I am playing games here and at my age I have a chance to play regularly in the Premier League and that's all I ever wanted, so it was quite an easy decision in the end.
"Now we want to stay in this league and we believe with the performances we have been putting in recently we can do."
Burnley have enjoyed a recent upturn in form having gone three Premier League games unbeaten. After draws with reigning champions Manchester City and Newcastle United they beat Queens Park Rangers 2-1 on Saturday, lifting themselves out of the relegation zone into 17th place.
"It was a huge game for us and we knew we had to win, especially at home against the teams that are around us."
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