Jamie Ward felt he had no option but to leave Nottingham Forest during the transfer window after playing just one of the club’s five Championship games.
The 30-year-old forward, who has joined Burton Albion on loan, said starting one league match and both EFL Cup fixtures “painted a picture” for him.
“The most important thing at my age is to play,” Ward told BBC Radio Derby.
“It obviously wasn’t going to happen for me there and I am not a player to sit around and just collect the money.”
Ward did not play against Burton in the season opener, but scored in the EFL Cup game against Doncaster and then started the league fixture against Brighton.
However, he was taken off just over an hour into the 3-0 defeat and did not feature in the Championship again.
The Northern Ireland international said linking up with Nigel Clough – his manager from his time at Derby County – was a “great” opportunity.
“I obviously wasn’t playing at Forest,” Ward added. “Nigel knows what I am like and I know what he is like. We have had a good relationship in the past and hopefully it carries on.”