Was there a lot of work required to get back to full fitness?
It was hard just to watch the lads and see them train as well as I’d just go to the gym and slug it out in there. It’s not a nice place to be. However, I think it has helped me. Obviously, I still do the gym work now but, in a weird way, it was good that I was injured because it made me get a bit more physical and stronger, which I needed.
Is that the case as you move up the levels and find the games more physical?
Yes, especially when I play for the Under-21s against some first-team lads. I have really got to try to compete but it has helped me.
Although the UEFA Youth League took up a lot of focus, is your main aim to break into the Under-21 side on a regular basis?
Yes, that’s obviously what I am trying to do – push to get in Warren Joyce's team and cement a place in that. It’s a bit of an unusual league this year. If we didn’t have the Under-19 league, I wouldn’t be playing many games at all so that has helped.
You have been a regular for England at youth level. How have you found that experience?
I was away recently with the Under-19s. I’d been with the younger ones all the way through, apart from last year, when I was injured and missed out on the Under-18s. You know the other lads as you play against them throughout the age groups. It is a little bit different when we come together but we try to blend and play the way they ask. England are certainly quite good at the youth levels.
Are you a United fan?
I’ve always supported United. I’m from Failsworth, on the outskirts of Oldham, but tell everybody I’m from Manchester!
Are there any first-teamers you particularly admire or strive to emulate?
Mainly ones like Michael Carrick. When Scholesy was there too. It’s obviously good that we’ve got him and Nicky Butt together coaching the Under-19s. I’m always getting the advice of those two and they try to help me as much as they can. It’s good that they are always there if I ever I need to talk and ask any questions. They will always give you an answer.
If you can break into the United first team, you would be the third Rothwell to represent the club after Charles and