I just love playing in the derby. There is a different feel around the city, and the way my friends speak leading up to the game is always different to other games.
My family are the same. When it’s derby day, my brother just doesn’t speak! He is just tuned into the game and everyone just keeps themselves to themselves.
Derby day has always been a massive day in my family. There was always a get-together of sorts at my house when I was younger, including the one City fan in my family – my uncle. So it’s always all of us against him! [Laughs] Going to the derby games means you get the full experience and the full day out.
When you watch it on TV, it’s completely different to when you watch it at the ground. The atmosphere and the feeling is second to none when you’re there, but I still have great memories of watching on TV with my family.
The rivalry has always been huge between the two teams, I remember that from coming up through the ranks at United. I think I played in my first derby at nine years old and it felt different, it was special. When I first joined the club, we had players from all over the country playing for United, there was a group of about 30 or 35 of us and, even though some weren’t from Manchester, when they played in that game, it just had a different feel to it. It’s something that the Academy players here are well prepared for so you’re always ready when you step into that environment.
I’ll never forget Wazza’s overhead-kick [at Old Trafford in 2011]. That was probably one of the most entertaining derbies I have ever watched. For me personally, to score the winner there [at the Etihad in 2016] was the biggest feeling in my career. Obviously, winning trophies is always your aim but I'd say on a personal note that was the biggest feeling I’ve had.
Derbies are always tough games, but I think they’re the games in which you always learn the most. There can be games where you win 3-0 or 4-0 and everyone’s happy but what have you learnt from the game itself? Of course you learn in every game and you’re delighted with the result but there are games where you win 1-0 or you draw 1-1, when things are that little bit tighter, and what you learn from those matches you then take into the next one. They’re the games that I love to be involved in.
Last season’s derby at City was amazing. I was on the bench for that game and I was itching to get on. We were so focused on not losing that game, winning was the only option for us when we went out in the second half. That feeling of being two goals behind was a horrible one and coming back from that was amazing. We’re all looking forward to Sunday’s match and hopefully we can leave the stadium with the same feeling again.
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