Luke Murphy said he had “nothing but respect” for Leeds United and had left the club on “good terms” as he prepared to come back to Elland Road this weekend.
The midfielder recalled his excitement at joining Leeds in a £1m deal in 2013 but admitted the time had been right for him to move on when United released him last summer.
Murphy became United’s most expensive signing in the best part of a decade after arriving from Crewe Alexandra during Brian McDermott’s reign as manager but despite making more than 100 appearances for the club, he struggled to firmly establish himself.
The 29-year-old agreed to take a cut in salary in 2015 as then owner Massimo Cellino attempted to lower the wage bill at Elland Road but Murphy’s opportunities dried up and he spent the final 18 months of his five-year spell with United on loan at Burton Albion.
Leeds and Murphy agreed to terminate his contract 12 months early, allowing Murphy to complete a free transfer to Bolton in August.
“I was buzzing (after signing for United) as Leeds is a massive club,” Murphy told the Bolton News. “I knew it prior to joining but it was only once I went there and spent time at the place that I realised just how big they were.
“It took me by surprise at first as I reckon you could go anywhere in the world and there would be Leeds fans. I was really happy to sign and have nothing but respect for them.”
Murphy was left out of Bolton’s League Cup defeat at Elland Road in August but is expected to start Saturday’s Championship clash with United.
Reflecting on his departure from Leeds, Murphy said: “The season prior to leaving I went out on loan twice and with one year left on my contract they were looking in other directions and looking to bring in people from abroad.
“We ended on good terms and it was fine as I had the chance to come to another big club in Bolton.”