Joe Rothwell was included by Louis van Gaal in Manchester United’s matchday squad against Watford a few weeks back, and although the 21-year-old did not make his first team bow in that game, yet a lot of people are already asking a lot about him. The Red Devils have a nac of producing phenomenal players from their academy, and given how well the likes of Jesse Lingard, Guillermo Varela, Cameron Borthwick-Jackson and Marcus Rashford have taken their chances this season, it comes as no surprise that Rothwell is creating a lot of buzz. The Dutch manager has already handed debuts to 14 academy graduates and youngsters under his tenure, and the Manchester-born midfielder could well be the 15th. Here is our scout review on him:
Background and History:
Joe Rothwell joined the club as a six-year-old, in 2001. Although he started off as a winger, he was shifted to the middle of the park by the academy coaches. He started well during the 2011/12 season, his first with the Under-18s side, only to sustain a long-term injury which sidelined him for six months. The following year, he made up for lost time and was handed professional terms at Old Trafford.
The following season though, saw him play regularly under the U21s, where he continued to make a good impression. during the second half of 2014/15, joined Championship strugglers Blackpool on loan. The midfielder was then sent on another temporary move to League One side Barnsley last summer, only for a debilitating bout of tonsillitis to limit him to three appearances. The Terriers terminated his loan contract and, following an operation to remove the affected tonsils, Rothwell lost weight and struggled to regain full fitness. He has also made 16 appearances for England at different age levels, alongside the likes of Luke Shaw, but is yet to make an international debut.
Rothwell is a box-to-box midfielder, someone who likes to take on players and beat them, make clever runs and passes and in general, control the tempo of the game. In his own words, “I like to get on the ball and drive forward and set up attacks. My main asset is driving past players, beating players and bringing others into play. I’m trying to add a few more goals so hopefully, I can do that.” However, he is a bit frail physically because of that tonsillitis problem, but obviously, Louis van Gaal has clearly seen enough to give Rothwell an opportunity.
“Joe has a great burst of energy and can surge through. It’s something he has to work on. He can do that more often.” – Nicky Butt, Manchester United’s head of the academy.
Rothwell’s been a player who, prior to Joshua Harrop’s quick breakthrough, was considered a leader in our U21s midfield and I’ll be excited to see how he gets on with it.