Joe Rothwell is next in line to step up to the plate in our 'Football Origins' feature...
We sat down with the midfielder to discuss his career so far, his firsts, his favourites and much more.
This piece was in the recent matchday programme against Preston North End.
First Football Memory
I would say it would be going with my dad to watch my older brother train. I’d be standing on the sidelines kicking a ball around. That was how I got into playing really, it just went from there.
Team You Supported Growing Up
Manchester United. Playing there for as many years as I did, I suppose I had to really. I think even if I didn’t play there I’d have still supported them.
First Game You Attended
I don’t actually remember the first game I went to. I do remember that my dad used to sneak me into Maine Road in between his legs every now and then. We’d watch a game that way but I can’t remember who I would have watched.
First Football Shirt Owned
It probably would have been a Manchester United shirt. I’m not sure what one it was, but I remember having the reversible one. One side was silver and the other was gold.
First Pair Of Football Boots
Funnily enough I’ve still got them at home. They were a little pair of Puma King boots. They were my brother’s and then were passed down to me. I’ve kept hold of them ever since.
I’ve always said that it was Paul Scholes. I was lucky enough to work closely to him and I could see every day what he was like in and out of training. He was a big inspiration for me due to the way he carried himself. He’d train, get home to his family and not really care about the media stuff. I’d say I’m pretty similar in that sense, to be honest.
First Junior Team
It was a team called Medlock. We had a really good team. Everyone out of my age group all got scouted for Manchester United because we used to win almost every tournament that we played in. It was a really enjoyable time.
Age You Were Scouted
I think I was a five-year-old. Whenever I used to watch my brother train, the manager of his team would ask me to join in. Mr brother is four years older than me and all his team were older than me as well. When I turned up I’d play under someone else’s name, and when I was scouted I was actually scouted under someone else’s name. I had to eventually tell them my actual name and it went from there. Getting a pro deal at 17 was what I’d worked for all my life. I was offered my first professional deal at Manchester United and it was a dream come true. It was what I’d worked for over all those years and I’d sacrificed a lot for it.
It was actually a loan move. I was on loan at Blackpool when they were struggling in the Championship. I remember that my Under-23s manager said to me that it wouldn’t be fun but it was a good chance to see what it was like in the real world. I made my debut away at Norwich and I think we were pumped 4-0. It wasn’t too enjoyable, but it was nice to make my first proper appearance in men’s football.
Best Memory in Football
I’d say playing at Wembley in the Checkatrade Trophy Final for Oxford United. I think there was about 85,000 that turned out and it was a dream of mine as a kid to play at Wembley. Unfortunately we didn’t win, but it’s a memory that I’ll always have.
Best Advice Ever Received
I’ve received quite a lot. My old man used to just tell me to enjoy it, especially when you’re younger. It’s important to not take things to serious, but then you get to an age, especially when you get your contract, those words change and you do have to take it serious. Always enjoy it is what I’ve been told though and that’s what I’ve always done.
Advice For Young Players
Probably the same as what I got told. When you’re younger you’ve got to go out there and enjoy it. Things aren’t always going to go right for you, but when you enjoy it I think you’ve got more chance that things will go right for you.