Freddie Burns admits choosing to leave Gloucester affected his game

The attacking No 10 said it took over six weeks of agonising for him to decide to go

Freddie Burns, as open and honest as any England player of his generation, admits it: the loneliness of the long-running transfer saga made his life a misery. The most creative attacking No 10 in the country will leave Gloucester in May – while his destination has yet to be confirmed, there is no obvious reason to think it will not be Leicester – but that is only half the story. The other half is as bleak as it gets: a cautionary tale of a brilliant talent who said too much at the wrong time and saw the bottom fall out of his game as a consequence.

"I've learnt masses about myself over the last couple of months – this is the toughest time I've had as regards not playing well," admitted the 23-year-old, who will resume his red-rose career with the second-string Saxons at Kingsholm this weekend. "I had a decision to make about staying or leaving and I do wish I'd handled it slightly differently, in terms of not saying anything and focusing on my rugby. But it's happened now. I'll be a better player and a better person because of it."

Burns mentioned before Christmas that he was considering his future at Gloucester and from the moment he went public, the issue of his future employment took on a life of its own. The Cherry and White hierarchy quickly grew tired of the subject – and even more tired of waiting for him to agree a contract extension. They withdrew their offer after weeks of speculation and confirmed a parting of the ways earlier this month.

Left out of England's 35-man squad for the forthcoming Six Nations but still in the Elite Player Squad and therefore a live candidate for the three-Test series against New Zealand in the summer, Burns openly acknowledged that recent distractions had messed with his head. "Gloucester have given me everything and I still 'um' and 'ah' about the decision, but I had to do what was right for my career – go to where I think I'll become the best player I can be," he said.

"I had a lot of advice, but it got to the point where I probably spoke to too many people. So I shut myself away in my flat and hardly spoke to anyone. I would train and go straight home; my parents would call and I'd brush them off. I spent two weeks on my own, trying to hammer out a decision. It took six weeks, if not longer, to reach that decision: I just wanted to wake up one morning and find the penny had dropped."

Talking of pennies, the Premiership top brass have confirmed that the salary cap, the mechanism that has established England's domestic league as the most competitive in the world game, will rise by around £500,000 to £5m per club from the start of next season. There will also be a more transparent monitoring system.

Sport
The sun rises over St Andrews golf course, but will it be a new dawn for the Royal and Ancient Golf Club?
sportAnd it's Yes to women (at the R&A)
Arts and Entertainment
Friends is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year
tvSeries celebrates 20th anniversary
Sport
Yaya Touré (left) and Bayern Munich’s Spanish defender Juan Bernat
footballToure's lack of defensive work is big problem for City
Voices
voicesApple continually kill off smaller app developers, and that's no good for anyone
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Liam Neeson said he wouldn't
tv

Liam Neeson's Downton dreams

Sport
Wembley Stadium
footballNews follows deal with Germany
Arts and Entertainment
A spell in the sun: Emma Stone and Colin Firth star in ‘Magic in the Moonlight’
filmReview: Magic In The Moonlight
Sport
A 'Sir Alex Feguson' tattoo
football

Arts and Entertainment
Ben Whishaw is replacing Colin Firth as the voice of Paddington Bear
tv

Thriller is set in the secret world of British espionage

Life and Style
life

News
ScienceGallery: Otherwise known as 'the best damn photos of space you'll see till 2015'
Life and Style
fashion

Bomber jacket worn by Mary Berry sells out within an hour

Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

The Imitation Game, film review
England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week