The Football League Paper - - LEAGUE TWO - By Matt Bad­cock

THERE AREN’T many bet­ter football nurs­eries for your for­ma­tive years than Manch­ester United’s. Danny Rose grew up play­ing along­side the likes of Ger­ard Pique, Giuseppe Rossi and Jonny Evans, was on the bench in the League Cup and cap­tained the re­serves.

But while some of his peers con­tin­ued to live the dream at the top, Rose had to go to the bot­tom and start again.

Re­leased by United in 2008, af­ter be­ing out of sight on loan at Ox­ford, Rose pitched up at part-time New­port County un­der for­mer Wim­ble­don and Bolton striker Dean Holdsworth.

But rather than mope about and blame the rest of the world af­ter a deal at Bris­tol Rovers fell through, Rose vowed to knuckle down and get back to where he wanted to be.

“When I first went to New­port it was part-time and I hated it but I worked hard,” said Rose, who scored in Ox­ford’s 2-1 win against Bury last week.

“You go to places like Thur­rock and Lewes, real tough grass-roots football where you get to learn how to win a game the hard way.

“Those ex­pe­ri­ences help when you’re 2-1 up away to Portsmouth in front of 18,000 peo­ple and you need to do the ugly bits right.


“When I first went to the Con­fer­ence South I guess my ca­reer could have gone ei­ther way. I thought I had a deal at Bris­tol Rovers but it sud­denly didn’t hap­pen. I could have stayed around that level and not re­ally be­lieved I’d get into the League or do what I have.

“I had a taste of the big time and I knew what the life­style could be like. Ev­ery­one wants to play in front of thou­sands and be idolised.

“Com­ing away from it is a big cul­ture shock and then you re­alise how far away from it you are when you’re in the Con­fer­ence South.”

It wasn’t long be­fore Rose was show­ing why he had been so highly-thought of at Old Traf­ford.

Thoughtful and in­tel­li­gent the mid­fielder helped New­port romp to the Con­fer­ence South ti­tle and then en­joy a fine sea­son in Non­League’s top flight.

Call-ups to the Eng­land C squad duly fol­lowed where he was twice given the cap­tain’s arm­band.

In Jan­uary 2012 he joined Con­fer­ence Pre­mier ri­vals Fleet­wood Town and looked to have reached his Football League dream with pro­mo­tion.

But the moved turned sour – he ef­fec­tively found out his time was up when his name was re­moved from the team list in the pro­gramme – and he went on loan to Alder­shot.

“I didn’t want to be a bit-part player. I wanted to test my­self in the Football League and Dean Holdsworth gave me that op­por­tu­nity on loan with Alder­shot,” Rose said.

“It wasn’t a suc­cess­ful sea­son for the club and rel­e­ga­tion was disap-

point­ing but I man­aged to not do too bad my­self.

“Ox­ford had tried to get me on loan in Jan­uary but I’d al­ready signed un­til the end of the sea­son with Alder­shot. Thank­fully Chris Wilder kept his in­ter­est and came af­ter me in the sum­mer.”

What a busy sum­mer it has been. Rose has had his hands full with his two new-born twin girls – Sa­van­nah and Shayana – while Ox­ford en­dured a pre-sea­son favourite – Marine camp.

“You name it, we did it,” Rose, 25, said.“Press-ups, shut­tle runs, push­ing mini-buses.We had no sleep for about 30 hours, do­ing all sorts of ex­er­cises.

“We man­aged to get through it but there were some dark mo­ments and all the lads were say­ing it was the hard­est thing they’d ever done.


“We did a three mile hike where we had to carry 15 20kg bags be­tween the squad. When we stopped there were shut­tle runs and races be­fore we had to hike back.

“At 9pm they told us to get off to bed and they’d see us in the morn­ing. Then at 11.30pm they were bang­ing on our win­dows, blow­ing whis­tles and drag­ging us out of bed to go and jump in a freez­ing ravine.

“But there wasn’t one player who com­plained and we all got on re­ally well.When we were told it was over we cel­e­brated like we’d won the league.”

U’s fans will be hop­ing for sim­i­lar scenes at the end of a sea­son that has started promis­ingly with wins at fan­cied Portsmouth and against fel­low rel­e­gated side Bury.

With the likes of for­mer Read­ing and Stoke City striker Dave Kit­son join­ing, op­ti­mism fills the air around the Kas­sam Sta­dium.

“The club have al­ways had the fa­cil­i­ties and sta­dium to be a League One or Cham­pi­onship team, no doubt,” Rose said.

“We’ve re­cruited well with some re­ally good play­ers for this level. We’ve got to per­form on a con­sis­tent ba­sis and hope­fully we can jump up the leagues.

“I’ve done it the hard way but I guess that makes it even more re­ward­ing.”

HANDS FULL: Danny with twins Sa­van­nah and Shayana

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