From Seattle to Motherwell, Andy Rose has had quite the well-travelled career. Now finding himself in Vancouver, the Australian is in the peak of his career out in America’s ever-expanding MLS.
During that time, Rose has had the privilege of playing with some fine footballers. Leicester City’s James Maddison and Motherwell prospect David Turnbull are just two of the names he’s got to work with.
Rose’s Vancouver Whitecaps kick off their 2020 MLS campaign in the early hours of Sunday morning when they host Sporting KC. The Whitecaps have undergone a sizeable rebuild over the winter with a number of changes on and off the pitch.
The arrival of Canadian international striker Lucas Cavallini for $6million from Liga MX side Puebla is one of several big-name MLS recruits from Mexico. Speaking exclusively to NTOF, Rose admits there is a lot of expectation on the 27-year-old after being signed as one of the Caps’ Designated Players.
“It’s been a long off-season for us, we’ve had a really good pre-season and it’ll be nice to play for some points again,” said Rose. “I’m really optimistic, I think the club has made some really encouraging moves off the field.
“We’ve brought in a new Sporting Director and a new CEO on the business side. Overall there’s just a much better feeling. We’ve got quite a few new players in and we have much more of an identity.
“Guys are really buying into what the management want. We signed a great goalscorer in Lucas Cavallini too, a great number nine, so there’s a lot of optimism about the club just now.
“It’s a big transfer fee so obviously there will be a lot of expectation on his shoulders. I think the club were delighted to get that one over the line and I think he’s scored three in his last four pre-season games. He’s been a real handful and he’s a good team player as well.
“This league is different to what I was used to in the UK as you can spend so much money on your top three players. They need to make a massive difference on the pitch. When a club spends that type of money I think they expect more than just what you bring on the pitch and so far he’s been a credit to himself.”
The Turnbull and Maddison parallels
Previous to being in Vancouver, Rose had spells in the UK with Coventry City and Motherwell. It was at both of these clubs that the battler came across two of the most gifted players he’s worked with.
First off it was Maddison, who is now a fully-fledged Premier League star with Leicester. Most recently at Fir Park with Motherwell, Rose had the pleasure of watching upcoming star Turnbull rise.
The latter left Rose wowed with his talent and gutted when a big-money move to Celtic was derailed by a knee injury, one he only returned from against St Mirren recently.
Maddison wasn’t too bad either and Rose can see flashes of the Foxes playmaker in Motherwell’s exciting prospect. The Whitecaps midfielder has detailed the parallels he has drawn between the two midfield maestros.
“When he (David Turnbull) started training with us, you just knew,” said Rose. “I was at Coventry City with James Maddison before I went to Motherwell and he was young at the time, 18 or 19.
“But you just knew out on the training pitch that he was special and that one day he was going to be worth £50 or £60 million. It was just how badly he wanted it, staying behind in training, whenever he was on the ball in training you thought something would happen.
“I got the same sense when David Turnbull started training with us. I got that same feeling that this was a very special footballer. As he started growing into training with the first-team and getting comfortable, the confidence and personality came out.
“It was only a matter of time before he was really going to take over. He was so unfortunate in the summer transfer window with his injury but I’ve got massive hopes for David. He was so fun to play with.
“He was one of those players you’d give the ball to in any situation and you were so confident he was going to come out with it. He’s a really intelligent player, fantastic technique, and it’s going to be really fun to watch his future play out.”
Missing North Lanarkshire
There are some 4,376 miles separating Vancouver where Rose resides now to his former home in Motherwell. By his own admission, his SPFL stint was one of the best in his career.
The 30-year-old made 57 appearances in claret and amber after a 2017 arrival, reaching two cup finals in his first season at Fir Park. There was plenty he was fond of in Scotland and plenty of positive factors were found.
An opportunity to go back to America though wasn’t one Rose could turn down but the midfielder remains indebted to his former employers. He’s hailed Well manager Stephen Robinson, saying any player would love the Fir Park experience.
“Motherwell was one of my favourite stops in my career without a doubt,” he said. “I had an incredible 18 months there and played with some fantastic teammates. The academy at Motherwell is incredible with the likes of James Scott, David Turnbull, big price tags. Then we had players like Louis Moult and Cedric Kipre.
“I had so much fun and the intensity of the game in Scotland was a joy to be part of. Motherwell is a real family club so I loved my 18 months there and when the opportunity to come back to the MLS was presented it was tough not to turn down.
“My wife is American and we had just had our little boy. It was going to be nice to be closer to family and Vancouver were going through a rebuild. With how much MLS grows, especially with the next phase of my career and one day moving into coaching, I felt it was a place I wanted to be for the next phase in life.
“I miss Scottish football, the UK and probably the people the most. I met some incredible people in Scotland but this has been a great challenge for me. When I first came in the manager, Stephen Robinson, was so enthusiastic and excited. Everyone felt that and we grouped together in a way very few often do.
“Training became such a joy, everyone bought into the culture of it. I think we were really fun to watch. We had a good few results early on and I think we realised we had a few special players here. When you had two cup runs like we did, looking back on my career, I’ve had a lot of experiences but that year was one of the most special times I can remember. I went back to Glasgow in December and caught up with all those guys, although there’s not a ton left from that group.
“But that’s what Motherwell is. Any player would be lucky to have an opportunity to play there, Fir Park is fantastic, the pitch is pristine and it’s a place you go if you have something to prove. I witnessed it happen for so many players. There’s a new group there having a great season.
“The one biggest regret I have is that we didn’t get the top six. We had a bit of a tough run around Christmas. The two cup finals were special but that group with the talent we had should have got into the top six.
“Earlier in the season we were shooting for the top four which is what this group is doing now. I’m so happy for them and the management, they certainly deserve it. Stephen Robinson is intense, fiery, and incredible educated. He’s a great tactician. His training sessions were full-on, nobody could relax, he was so passionate and enthusiastic on the training pitch.
“As someone who wants to go into that profession, one thing I’ll always take is how close the coaching staff were. Between Keith Lasley, the gaffer, the fitness guys, medical team, they were incredibly loyal to each other and supported one another. It created a positive culture and I’ve got to keep in touch with Stephen Robinson.
“I can forever say I’m a Motherwell fan, my son was born in Scotland so he’ll always grow up as a Well fan and it’s one of the first scores I check at the weekend. It was just a really fun time in my life.”