October 15, 2022
Ex-gunner says it was a no-brainer to leave Arsenal

CARDIFF, WALES: Mark McGuinness of Cardiff City battles for possession with James Garner of Nottingham Forest during the Sky Bet Championship match between Cardiff City and Nottingham Forest at Cardiff City Stadium on January 30, 2022. (Photo by Dan Istitene/ Getty Images)
CARDIFF, WALES: Mark McGuinness of Cardiff City battles for possession with James Garner of Nottingham Forest during the Sky Bet Championship match between Cardiff City and Nottingham Forest at Cardiff City Stadium on January 30, 2022. (Photo by Dan Istitene/ Getty Images)

An Arsenal academy graduate, Mark McGuinness left the club to join Cardiff City last summer, signing a permanent deal with the Championship side.

The centre-back spent 10 years with Arsenal but says it wasn’t a difficult decision to finally leave.

“I had been 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 28, 2022.

“I had that loan spell at Ipswich and I had accumulated 25 games or whatever and I had that spell in first-team football and it’s completely different from academy football, at different kilometers. And I didn’t want to go back to that.

BIRMINGHAM, ENGLAND: Mark McGuinness of Cardiff City celebrates after scoring his team's second goal during the Sky Bet Championship match between Birmingham City and Cardiff City at St Andrew's Trillion Trophy Stadium on December 11, 2021. (Photo by Tony Marshall/Getty Pictures)
BIRMINGHAM, ENGLAND: Mark McGuinness of Cardiff City celebrates after scoring his team’s second goal during the Sky Bet Championship match between Birmingham City and Cardiff City at St Andrew’s Trillion Trophy Stadium on December 11, 2021. (Photo by Tony Marshall/Getty Pictures)

McGuinness eventually played less than 10 games for Arsenal’s U23s, having won the U18 Premier League with Arsenal in 2018/19.

The defender’s 2019/20 season was badly disrupted by injuries and the pandemic and then he went on loan to Ipswich Town the following year.

It hasn’t been easy at Ipswich, as he has been a starter for long stretches of the season, but he has had two extended absences from the team.

Firstly, he sat out the first six games of the campaign as he adjusted to life at Ipswich. Then he was either waived or benched for 14 consecutive games in the first months of 2021.

All the same, he finished the season with 25 senior appearances, and that was enough to get him a move to Cardiff City.

Moving on to the Championship, McGuinness has made 31 appearances this season (all starts), scoring three goals. Cardiff sit in 17th place, 18 points above the relegation zone, so they are set for another season in second place next term.

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