Mark McGuinness has revealed he has no regrets at leaving Arsenal when he did after revelling in first team football at Cardiff City this season.
McGuinness has been speaking after his latest call up to Republic of Ireland under 21 setup during the international break.
The former Arsenal defender has played 30 of Cardiff’s 36 league games this season being the mainstay in a back three that has featured the experienced heads of Sean Morison, Aden Flint and Curtis Nelson.
It’s been a learning curve for McGuinness, but one he admits he needed after playing academy football at Arsenal.
Speaking about the timing of his departure from the Emirates, the Londoner says it was not a difficult decision to leave Arsenal when Cardiff came calling. He told the Irish Independent: “I was there since I was 10 but it was a no-brainer for me.
“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 is hoping his exposure to first team football at the Cardiff City Stadium will stand him in good stead on the international stage: “That’s the goal to go and play in the senior side. But my focus is on it being a huge honour to play for the Ireland under 21s.”
McGuiness has been essentially playing out an apprenticeship, learning on the job throughout a difficult season for Cardiff.
However, form for both himself and Cardiff have improved, giving supporters a good idea of what kind of player McGuiness can be when he’s not in a team that is shipping goals regularly.
He’s the type of player you need to build a side around and Cardiff could well be doing that this summer with McGuiness likely to have secured himself as one of the first names on the team sheet.