Tom Thorpe has graduated from captaining the youngsters to FA Youth Cup glory to becoming a regular at Under-21 level. He speaks about his hunger for success in this interview, first published in Inside United...
Are you relishing the second half of the Under-21 season with United qualifying for the Elite phase of the competition?
Definitely. I'm looking forward to the games coming up as it’s a new league so we’re playing some different teams that we don’t always play every week. We had a break but have been getting lots of training in so we’re enjoying getting back into action.
The new division involves a number of trips down south and matches in the capital..
There will be a lot of teams we have not played so it will be good experience going down there to play them.
Your coach Warren Joyce explained it may not have been the be-all and end-all to make the Elite group but was there a determination to qualify?
You always want to win. You always want to be top of the table. Warren would have said it’s more of a learning curve, more about performances at this stage and how we play but, obviously, the lads want to win. So we’re going into this new league hoping to win every game.
Warren made the point that the hardest games of our first group were against Stoke City, even though they finished bottom..
Exactly. Stoke seemed to put a lot of players out who had first-team experience. There were older players in their side but it’s a good test and it helps us.
On a personal note, you made more appearances at this level than anybody else at United in the calendar year. Are you pleased to be a permanent fixture in the side and particularly at centre-back more recently?
Yes, I’m glad to be playing full stop really. I don’t mind whether it is in midfield or centre-back, I’m just glad to be helping the team out and getting into the team regularly.
Is it true, though, that you do prefer to play at the heart of the defence?
That’s my preferred position. I do like to play centre-back and hopefully I can play more there