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First Team

Joe Rothwell: Five things you didn’t know


AFC Bournemouth AFC Bournemouth

Joe Rothwell has become Scott Parker’s second summer signing on a free transfer from Blackburn Rovers.

The midfielder’s arrival follows Ryan Fredericks’ incoming from West Ham United earlier this week.

Having penned a four-year deal, the Manchester-born 27-year-old’s contract will keep him at Vitality Stadium until 2026.

Here are five things you may be unaware of about the club’s newest recruit.

1. Boots for life

With perhaps a touch of sentimentality, Rothwell still owns his first-ever pair of football boots from when he was a youngster.

The midfielder shared that he held onto them in an interview with Blackburn Rovers when asked about his first pair in 2020.

He explained: “Funnily enough, I’ve still got them at home. They’re a little pair of Puma Kings.

“I think they were my brother’s and they got passed down to me and we’ve just kept them.”

2. From attack to midfield

While the 27-year-old Englishman is now predominantly known for being a central midfielder, that was not always the case.

Joining Manchester United in the summer of 2001 as a six-year-old – potentially in his pair of Puma Kings – Rothwell was first a right-winger.

During his time in the Red Devils’ academy set-up, he then gradually moved to the centre of the pitch.

Having occupied both wide and central midfield positions for Rovers over the 2021/22 term though, the Cherries’ latest incoming has clearly still retained his versatility.

Rothwell’s abilities in midfield were lauded so much by former Blackburn head coach Tony Mowbray, he claimed in October 2021 that the 27-year-old would be one of the best dribblers in the top flight.

“We’ve been talking about how amazing Joe Rothwell is, just his technique and his outstanding ability to run with the ball,” Mowbray said.

“It’s not just good, he is the best in this league [the Championship] in my mind at running with the ball and would be one of the best in the Premier League.

“Adama Traore, and Saint-Maximin at Newcastle, there aren’t many people who can run with the ball like Joe Rothwell.”

3. Familiar face for AFCB midfielder

Both being the same age and having spent several years in the United academy together, as well as both going on loan to Barnsley in 2015, Ben Pearson is a familiar face for Rothwell from not only club level.

Across U16, U17, U19 and U20 levels for England, the two midfielders featured in matchday squads alongside one another on multiple occasions.

Their most recent outing together for a Three Lions youth side saw the duo start on the bench in an U20s 1-1 draw with Turkey back in October 2014.

During his youth international days, Rothwell also crossed paths with former Cherries players Jordon Ibe and Nathan Ake, alongside the former for the U19s and against the latter in a game with the Netherlands for the U17s.

4. Back-to-back U21 Premier League champion

In his Old Trafford days, the midfielder was a back-to-back title winner with Manchester United U21s.

Ahead of the U21 Premier League becoming the Premier League 2, Rothwell first lifted the trophy in 2014/15 before repeating the feat in 2015/16.

His best game in the second title win saw AFC Bournemouth’s second summer arrival score twice and assist once in a 4-1 win against Fulham, both goals being provided by Adnan Januzaj before Rothwell teed up Robin van Persie.

5. Reality TV appearance

While known for being out on the football pitch, Rothwell made a brief reality TV cameo back in 2020.

Former teammate Bradley Dack and his fiancé, Olivia Attwood, featured in an ITVBe show called ‘Olivia Meets Her Match’, which saw Rothwell appear in some golf practice.

Speaking on the cameo at the time, it wasn’t an experience the midfielder was keen to repeat.

He joked with Lancs Live: “I think if you've watched that show you can see how awkward I am on it, I don't enjoy doing it too much. I try and stay away from it if I can."

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