United Youth

Manchester United Reserves & Academy News

Headline writers rejoice – Burnley sign Chris Eagles

Posted by nickogs20 on July 30, 2008

‘The Eagles has landed’, ‘Eagles leaves the nest’, ‘Eagles flies north’… it’s a glorious day for sub-editors everywhere, and a huge day in the career of Chris Eagles. The 22 year-old midfielder has ended his 8 year association with Manchester United by signing for Burnley for a fee believed be in the region of £1.25m (+ add-ons).

It’s fair to say this news isn’t a surprise. Eagles spoke with Burnley boss Owen Coyle before jetting out with the rest of the United squad on their tour of Africa and, despite performing creditably and getting on the scoresheet in the games against Kaizer Chiefs and Portsmouth, it always looked likely that the tour would be something of a last hurrah. For a player with definite Premier League potential, some might consider the move to what might be considered an ‘unfashionable’ Championship club as something of a step down but in reality it makes a lot of sense. Burnley are an ambitious, progressive club with a bright young manager who gets his side playing football the right way, exactly the sort of environment Chris needs at this stage in his career, and the likes of Hull, Stoke and Watford have recently proved that reputation means little when determining who earns promotion to the top flight every year.

Throw in the Turf Moor side’s proximity to Manchester and the desire shown by Coyle to recruit the player, as well as the likely paucity of first-team opportunities at Old Trafford, and it’s not hard to see why Chris has finally chosen to move on.

“I believe this is the next step into what I believe is a good career. I have loved every minute at United and I love them to pieces, but I believe it’s time now to think of myself and my own future. It’s no good just playing a game now and again. I need to be playing every week and showing people what I can do.

The whole package at Burnley appealed to me. I’ve met the staff here a few times and they seem really straight. The manager is a person I like, the ground is familiar and living in Manchester means I don’t have to move anywhere. The first time I met Owen he had a big impact on me and my agent and he still does, otherwise I wouldn’t have signed. I was delighted with his passion and what he had to say and I am just pleased to get it all signed so that I can relax now and concentrate on my football.”

Eagles progress will be worth keeping a keen eye on. The Championship is a fiercely competitive league and, while he will undoubtedly be one of the most technically-gifted players in the division, developing the physical and mental sides to his game will be crucial if he’s to fulfil potential that could easily see him back in the Premier League very soon. THAT solitary first-team goal at Goodison Park will live long in the memory of United fans (and I suspect the player himself) and it’s through no lack of effort that Chris hasn’t made the breakthrough at OT.

Best of luck to Chris at Burnley and wherever the future may take him.

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