Ex-Aston Villa man Ashley Westwood opens up on swapping Burnley for US, considering retirement & Vincent Kompany

Ashley Westwood admits he considered retirement before switching Burnley for Stateside.
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The 33-year-old left Turf Moor in January to join MLS outfit Charlotte FC, ending his six-year stay with the Clarets as a result.

The midfielder clearly has no regrets about the move, revealing to Express US it’s given his career a new lease of life.

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“It's always been something we talked about as a family," Westwood said.

"Then my injury back in England was a bad one. I'll be honest, I was close to retiring. It was close, I didn't think I'd come back but then I got an opportunity here."

Westwood added: "Back in England I'm a nobody. I played in the Premier League for 10 years but I'm a normal guy, I wanted to come here and be like everyone else.

“That's the sort of environment I wanted to create here. The young lads ask what it was like playing with X or who was the best player - it's nice giving them that insight but I wanted to come here and try to blend in as quickly as possible, then let the quality shine."

Westwood admits he considered retirement after his injury woesWestwood admits he considered retirement after his injury woes
Westwood admits he considered retirement after his injury woes
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The Nantwich-born middle man made 162 appearances for the Clarets in the Premier League, scoring seven goals, and featured five times in the club's Europa League campaign in 2018/19.

However, he sustained a serious ankle injury against West Ham United at the London Stadium in April following a collision with Nikola Vlašić and never made another appearance for the club.

Nevertheless, Westwood has still kept a keen eye on his former side, who romped to the Championship title in Vincent Kompany’s first season in charge.

"I was so happy for them," Westwood added.

"I texted Vinny when they got promoted and he sent a picture straight back. Vinny's an unbelievable guy, we knew him playing against him, our kids go to the same school, so we had that connection anyway.

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"With my injury, he wanted me to stay, but then I spoke to him about this opportunity and he was the reason I came. He said to go and do it.

“I told him what I wanted, it was the opportunity of a lifetime, but he said 'go for it'. He knew our manager here (Christian Lattanzio, who used to coach at Manchester City), so he put in a good word, which helped! I'm forever grateful to him, I just hope he does well next year as well.

"He's building something at Burnley, he's creating something. The way he sees the game and the way they play... you can see in his management that he's meticulous.

“I'd be staying late to have my treatment in the morning and afternoon, then do coaching with the youth teams, Vinny would still be there at 10pm. He's dedicated to the job and the work he's put in, he's getting it back which he thoroughly deserves."

Charlotte, who also have former Derby County man Nathan Byrne on their books, currently sit ninth in their 15-side MLS Eastern Conference division.