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Shandong's McGowan explains reasons for Hearts departure

Ryan McGowan says he only left Heart of Midlothian because he was thinking about his future.

The 23-year old Australian defender/midfielder exited the Edinburgh outfit to join Chinese club Shandong Luneng in early January and says the move only came about because Hearts were experiencing financial difficulty.

McGowan also addressed the rumours that English clubs were interested in his services prior to his shift to the Chinese Super League.

"A lot of that was paper talk and speculation. There was nothing too formal from any clubs. With me being out of contract in the (northern) summer a lot of them were waiting on getting me on a free," he told SBS in Marbella ahead of the Socceroos' friendly with Romania on Wednesday.

"But Shandong were interested and they paid a lot of money to get me there. They are a big club in Asia and I am looking forward to a new experience.

"I loved my six years at Hearts. They did a lot for me and it was a tough decision to leave - and I'd love to have been in a position where I could perhaps have stayed a couple more years.

"But Hearts, as people know, has financial problems and for the good of the club it was probably better that they got some money for me when the chance arose.

"I had a great relationship with the fans and I couldn't ask for more from them."

He added: "I have a two-year contract and when it's up I will be 25 and that's still young enough to perhaps head back to the UK."

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