Danny Simpson is now arguably Newcastle United’s most improved player after doubting whether he was good enough to play in the Premier League. He told chief sports writer Luke Edwards why.
IT was a shattered dream which led Danny Simpson to make the toughest decision of his life, but it was the end of a fantasy which has brought out the best in him.
Born and raised a Manchester United fan, Simpson thought he would gain everything he had wished for as a youngster coming through the ranks at Old Trafford. Instead of glory nights with the Red Devils, though, Simpson was forced to recognise he was not going to make the grade with the club he had grown up at and with.
The high hopes Sir Alex Ferguson had for him as a youngster were gradually replaced by doubts about his ability to cut it at the highest level.
When Simpson dropped down to the Championship with Newcastle United last season, it was felt he had found his natural level. After loan moves to Royal Antwerp, Sunderland, Ipswich Town and Blackburn Rovers, Simpson had returned each time to Old Trafford unable to make any headway into the first team.
The full-back, who made just one league start in a total of eight appearances for Manchester United, said: “Of course it was always going to be a wrench to leave Manchester United. I had grown up there as a fan and they are my team, but it was time to move on.
“I hoped I would make it there, that is what I dreamed about when I was coming through the Academy, but at the same time I had seen players older than me leave to send their career down another path and I always knew there might come a time when I had to leave.
“Thankfully, I secured the loan move to Newcastle and things have gone really well since then.
“This was a great move for me and I am really happy here.
“I love living in Newcastle and I get on with everyone at the football club.
“It was precisely the move I needed at this stage of my career.
“It has helped me build up my confidence on the pitch. I am finally settled and that’s great.”