Darren Fletcher has revealed that Manchester United boss Louis van Gaal wanted him to stay, but that he had to leave the club to get his career back on track.
The Scotland captain left Old Trafford on deadline day to join West Brom on a free transfer, ending his 19-year association with the Red Devils.
West Ham also chased the midfielder, 31, but as their attempts failed, he looked to be set to see out his contract at United.
But West Brom moved late to land the experienced star, and Fletcher says that, although the 20-times Premier League champions wanted him to stay, he had to head off to play regularly:
“Manchester United are a fantastic club and I’ve got so many great memories there but I feel it’s time for a new challenge for me.” He told talkSPORT. “I haven’t had as many games as I would like this season and, after everything I’ve been through, I’m a professional football player. I want to play football and hopefully I can do that at West Brom. They’ve given me the opportunity to do that.
“I’m leaving Manchester United but I’ve got so many happy memories and got to know so many great people there I’m leaving with a smile on my face.
“I spoke to the manager [Louis van Gaal] about not playing as much as I wanted and the club didn’t really want me to go but they respected my wishes.
“The manager and Ed Woodward have been fantastic. I cannot speak highly enough of them. I have great respect for them and how they have dealt with this. They helped me as much as possible and made the move possible. I have to thank them for being professional and catering for my wishes.”
Fletcher also revealed that Tony Pulis’ desire to lure him to West Brom was a major factor in his decision, with the ex-Crystal Palace boss having made him feel wanted:
“Tony Pulis, my new gaffer, has been fantastic. He’s a big reason why I am at West Brom. He really, really wanted me.” He said.
“I had many conversations with him and when you have a manager who believes in you and wants you, as a professional footballer, you want to repay him and it gives you great confidence.”