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Exclusive: John Hartson explains why he left Arsenal for West Ham

Speaking exclusively to Football FanCast, John Hartson has spoken out about his departure from Arsenal in 1997.

The 52-time Wales international had been with Arsenal for two years, but at the time he had both Ian Wright and Dennis Bergkamp ahead of him in the pecking order. Both have since gone down as Gunners greats and are amongst the best forwards to have ever played in the Premier League.

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And Hartson has explained this as the reason why he left Highbury to move to West Ham.

He saidL “Very similar to myself at Arsenal (Phil Foden’s situation at Man City).

“I moved on. I had Bergkamp and Wright playing ahead of me. Several times Wenger played me and Wrighty with Bergkamp in behind in the hole, so the three of us did play quite a bit together.

“But in the long run it was always going to be Wrighty and Bergkamp.

“I got a little bit disillusioned and perhaps should have hung around to pick up a double winners medal in 98, but I never did that.

“Harry Redknapp told me he was going to build his team around me and he did. I played every single week, I had the number ten shirt on my back and I was starring for West Ham.”

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He may have missed out on that league title in England, but he would still go on to have a fantastic career in football. He scored 33 goals in 73 games for the Hammers before moving on to Celtic and It was north of the border where he truly excelled.

He would go on to bag over 100 times for Celtic, and also won six major trophies along the way. He was also the joint-winner of the Scottish Football Writers’ Association Player of the Year award in 2005.

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The 44-year-old reaped the benefits of leaving a huge club when not getting the amount of playing time he wanted or felt he deserved.

There are several players, like Foden, who also find themselves away from the action more than they would like. Of course, the Manchester City midfielder is just 19 years old, but he already possesses the talent to feature on a regular basis.

It remains to be seen whether he decides to bide his time at the Etihad Stadium or chooses to seek pastures new.

Article title: Exclusive: John Hartson explains why he left Arsenal for West Ham

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