MATURE ROSE IS IN FULL BLOOM
HE MAY still be in his prime, but Danny Rose is relishing his role as one of Oxford United’s senior pros – though the ex-Manchester United reserves captain would not mind ousting the latest starlet from Michael Appleton’s team.
Midfielder Rose, 27, first joined the U’s nine years ago in January, when Sir Alex Ferguson sent him to the Conference on loan as a favour to his pal Jim Smith, who soon signed him permanently.
Now in the third year of his second spell at the Kassam Stadium, after rebuilding his career in Non-League with Newport County and Fleetwood Town, Rose is one of the old heads that England U20 international John Lundstram can turn to.
He came on as a sub to help the League Two promotion hopefuls recover from a goal down to beat Braintree in their midweek FA Cup first-round replay.
Rose told The FLP: “I played the first dozen games but picked up a hip injury at Accrington last month – and the lads have carried on the good form we were already on.
“I can have no complaints about not going straight back into the team because the likes of John and Liam Sercombe have been doing so well.
“We’ve had a few cup games in the last couple of weeks, where lads in and around the team have been able to get some minutes under their belt.You just have to bide your time.”
On his drop from the top to the fifth level of English football, compared to Lundstram swapping life alongside Ross Barkley for a fourth-tier club, he says: “I was 18 and the club has changed massively since then.
“For me, it was a bit of a culture shock dropping down, in terms of the training ground, the opposition and the style of play. We used to train at Milton United’s ground, whereas now we’re at Horspath by the big Mini plant in Oxford, and the facilities wouldn’t look out of place at a Championship club.
“We try to get the ball down and play, so that wouldn’t have been too much of a culture shock for lads like John.”
Oxford won promotion back to the Football League in 2010, while Rose regained his top 92 status with Fleetwood two years later before rejoining the U’s in 2013 after a spell with Aldershot.
“The club has come a long way and I can certainly take a bit of pride in how far, because I’ve been able to witness some of the journey,” he adds.
“We’ve got a lot of young players coming through and it’s good to be that player who can look after them a bit.”
TOP TALENT: Oxford’s John Lundstram, right, challenges Braintree’s Remy Clerima in midweek MENTOR: Danny Rose is happy to offer advice to the youngsters at Oxford