Young midfielder Joe Rothwell discussed his progress at the club in an exclusive interview with Inside United...
When did you sign for United?
I was six when I joined so I haven’t really known anything else.
Have you always been a central midfielder?
No. In my younger days, I was a winger. I was always very small for my age so I was a wide player and it was only when I went up to the Under-15s or Under-16s that I moved inside.
Under-19 coach Nicky Butt mentioned he’d like to see you score more goals. Is it something you’re aware of?
That’s one of my aims this year. I want to add more goals. I’ve not played many games over the last couple of years due to injury and illness so hopefully I can chip in with a few more goals.
You have enjoyed a good partnership with Ben Pearson in the engine room. Do you get on well off the field?
We live about 10 minutes away from each other. I’ve known him since we were little and playing local football. So we have always known each other and get on well. I think it shows and rubs off on the pitch.
Paul McGuinness has explained how he teaches the club’s history to all the youth-teamers. Has this stuck with you?
All the way through, you get different bits put into your head every year so it’s all there. Especially when the FA Youth Cup comes around, Paul really gets into it and gives you a presentation about the badge on the blazer and things like that. Unfortunately, I only played one Youth Cup game – at Chelsea – as I was injured last year.
What was the reason for your lengthy absence?
In my first Under-18 year, it was a long-term injury that kept me out for five or six months. Last year, I had a bit of both injury and illness. I found it hard in my first year but had learned