Joe Rothwell admits leaving Manchester United was the wake-up call he needed – but is viewing his move to Rovers as a chance to further progress his career.

Rothwell spent two years at Oxford United before joining Tony Mowbray’s side this summer.

He left Old Trafford as a 21-year-old, turning down the offer of a new deal.

The midfielder never made an appearance for United, despite being hotly tipped for a bright future, though he did feature on the bench of a Premier League game against Watford in 2016.

Keen to further his career, he took the option to make the switch to Oxford where he made 86 appearances before his summer switch to Rovers.

He is back in the Championship, having spent time on loan with Blackpool in the division in 2015, and is keen to start the next chapter in his career having matured both on and off the pitch.

“You go into training every day and everything is laid out for you, you don’t have to lift a muscle really, you just put your boots on and go out and train,” he said of his time with Manchester United.

“Moving away to Oxford you had to fend for yourself and look after yourself and it was probably the wake-up call that I needed and it turned me from a boy into a man.

“I am really thankful for the opportunity that Oxford gave me.

“I was there (at Manchester United) for 15 or 16 years, I got to 21 and I felt I was getting to the point where I felt I could become a bit stale if I had stayed there so I felt it was the right time for me to move on and start playing men’s football.

“Oxford gave me the chance to do that and I felt I went there and took my chance and I must have impressed the manager here and he has brought me back up north.”

Moving back to his native north west by making the switch to Rovers was an added bonus for Manchester-born Rothwell, who joined on a three-year deal for an undisclosed fee.

Rothwell, capped three times at Under-20s level by England, added: “It was one of the main parts of me coming here to be honest, to get back up north.

“When I did move away it was the right time to get away and focus on my career and thankfully Oxford let me do that and I have spent two years there and really enjoyed my time there but I am glad to be back.”