Mark McGuinness says it was a ‘no-brainer’ leaving Arsenal in the end, as he didn’t want to go back to playing youth football.
Arsenal academy graduate Mark McGuinness left the club to join Cardiff City last summer, signing on a permanent deal with the Championship club.
The centre-back had spent 10 years with Arsenal, but he says it wasn’t a difficult decision to leave in the end.
“I was there since I was 10 but it was a no-brainer for me,” McGuinness told the print edition of the South Wales Echo on March 28th, 2022.
“I had that loan spell at Ipswich and had racked up 25 games or whatever and had that spell in first-team football and it’s completely different to academy football, miles different. And I didn’t want to go back to that.”
McGuinness played fewer than 10 games for the Arsenal u23s in the end, having won the u18 Premier League with Arsenal in 2018/19.
The defender’s 2019/20 season was heavily disrupted by injury and the pandemic, and then he went out on that loan to Ipswich Town the next year.
It wasn’t all smooth sailing at Ipswich, as he was a starter for long spells of the season, but he had two extended absences from the team.
First, he didn’t play for the opening six games of the campaign as he got adjusted to life in Ipswich. Then, he was either dropped or benched for 14 straight games in the early months of 2021.
All the same, he ended the season with 25 senior appearances, and it was enough to get him that move to Cardiff City.
Stepping up to the Championship, McGuinness has made 31 appearances this season (all starts), scoring three goals. Cardiff sit 17th, 18 points above the relegation zone, so they’re set for another season in the second tier next season.