The former England captain joined the reigning Premiership champions at 14

Owen Farrell has finally broken his silence on his move to Racing 92 from Saracens at the end of the season.

The former England captain announced he was taking a step back from international rugby at the end of last year to protect his wellbeing and that of his family.

Read more:Β England Six Nations squad

Last month the Top 14 club confirmed they had signed Farrell but there was no official communication from the English champions, who were thought to be waiting for a transfer fee to be paid to buy Farrell out of the remainder of his contract at StoneX Stadium.

Farrell speaks about leaving Saracens

But on Wednesday, the club confirmed Farrell would be leaving for pastures new across the channel after 17 years in Hertfordshire. And the 32-year-old said: “It is tough to be leaving a place that has been my home since I was 14. This is where I’ve grown up, met a lot of my friends and of course started my family.

“It has been a difficult decision but it is an exciting one for our family. It has never been something we have thought about before, but for the first time ever we thought it would be good to go and experience something different, and the time feels right.

“Saracens is a very difficult place to leave. The club have been fantastic with us, and it really counts for something when they care about nothing but the person.

“I have loved everything about this place, the people especially, and I’ll always be thankful to the fans who support us every weekend.

“It has never been taken for granted playing for this club. Going in to the back end of the year we are looking to make it the best we can, and I can’t wait to enjoy that over the coming months.”

Saracens boss Mark McCall on Farrell’s departure

Mark McCall and Owen Farrell (Getty Images)

Saracens boss Mark McCall labelled Farrell a “once-in-a-generation player” as he bid farewell to the fly-half who has been so instrumental in the club’s significant success.

He said: β€œOwen joined Saracens at 14, and everyone at the club knows we have been privileged to work with a once-in-a-generation player.

“A fierce competitor on the field, a loving teammate and a family man off it, Owen has been the heartbeat of Saracens since his senior debut and central to all the club has achieved.

“We can’t wait for the next phase of this season with Owen and to see him enjoy the opportunity that is ahead of him. He will always be part of the Saracens family.”

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