NEW RECRUIT Joe Rothwell was thankful for the familiar face of pal Ben Pearson when he first arrived at Cherries – even if he was “not great” as a flatmate at Barnsley!

The duo came through the youth ranks for more than a decade at Manchester United, having also represented England through the age group levels.

But it was while the pair were both on loan at Barnsley during the 2015-16 campaign that Rothwell got to share a flat with his fellow midfielder.

Rothwell, who arrived at Vitality Stadium on a free transfer from Blackburn earlier this month, told the Daily Echo: “I grew up with Ben, so it was good to have a familiar face when I walked through the door (at Cherries), but they have all been great.

“It always helps when you go into a new place. It’s always nice to just have that one person you can kind of ask the questions to and bounce off.

“Ben was that guy for me. I grew up with him, played with him for 15 years at United. We went on loan together at Barnsley and lived together when we were there. We know each other inside out.

“Ben is Ben, you will see him about and he’s a character. His persona and his look, that’s just him, that’s how he’s always been. I don’t think he will ever change!”

Asked what Pearson was like as a flatmate, Rothwell said: “Not great! I was doing most of the cooking and tidying I think.

“I tried to stay away from his room because there are probably still a few horrible smells coming out of there!

“That’s Ben. That’s who he is, everyone knows what he’s like. I don’t think he will ever change and why should he.”

While he gets settled with his wife and two daughters off the pitch on the south coast, the 27-year-old revealed he had certainly been put through his paces on it during a “tough” pre-season schedule.

“It’s been good. Second week in now - the first week was an eye opener. Tough,” Rothwell replied, when asked about pre-season training at the Dorset club.

“Pre-season is never easy. You come back and you know it’s going to be hard.

“But I think here, going to the Premier League, they want to push us now that little bit more. I have really felt that.

“I’d say this is the toughest. They have all been tough, I’m not saying any of them were easy! But this one has probably been the toughest for me.

“I have kind of got away with it a little bit in the past in pre-seasons, kind of managed my own body.

“Obviously coming to a new club you don’t want to do that. You want to try to get out there every day and try to impress and I have done that.

“The first week was tough but you become accustomed to it. It’s getting a bit easier now.”