RTID Matchday Magazine caught up with Welsh International David Cotterill at the Cantley Park training ground ahead of the Crawley Town game.
Can you remember your first Football League appearance?
Yes, I came on when I was 16 years old. Brian Laws gave me my debut; I came on for just 20 minutes. It’s what you always dream of really I was lucky to make it to that level and I've obviously progressed.
Is it something that lives long in the memory?
Yes, I think so; it should do anyway - I definitely remember it! You always remember your first game and you always remember your last.
What is the highlight in your career so far?
Probably making my debut at a young age. Making my international debut for Wales is probably second.
So, where did you go after that? What was your next step?
Norwich and Wigan were fighting for my signature when I was away with Wales. Norwich had put in for me and then Wigan came in at the last minute. My agent drove me up to Wigan and I signed there.
My first game for Wigan was away at Northampton, a game which was broadcast on Sky; I managed to have a good game!
You are a Welsh International. When did you make your debut?
I was playing regularly in Bristol City’s first team from being a late 16 year old to an early 18 year old. I’d played in the Under 21s for Wales and John Toshack was interested in bringing all the young players through to the first team together.
It fell lucky for me that I was in the batch of youngsters that were doing well at that time.
If you look back, what would you say was the highlight of playing for Wales?
Scoring my first international goal was obviously special but It’s probably when I came on for Ryan Giggs, who at that time had the record for being the youngest player. I came on and managed to beat him by 8 days but the record didn’t last for that long - I think about 3 or 4 people have beaten it since then.
You have been around a few clubs but you’re only young still. Do you think you’ve reached your peak or is there still more to come?
No, I’ve still got to reach that. I need to find a place to settle and hopefully this can be that place. I joined Sheffield United after Wigan and did well there as we made the quarter final but lost. I wasn’t really in Kevin Blackwell’s plans but at that time Sheffield United were doing well so I joined Swansea on the back of that. At the time, football wise, I thought it was a backward step but then we all know what happened to Swansea. They ended up being a much better team than Sheffield United and they’ve gone on to do great things.
At the end of the last season you ended up at Barnsley and everybody thought you were going to sign there. What happened at there?
I’m not too sure. I signed a short-term contract just to show that I was basically fit. I was in and out really. I didn’t have 5 or 6 games where I played consecutively; I was only playing 3 or 4 games at a time. I wasn’t doing too well and I think the manager decided to take me out. While I was there I only played about 6 games. I know it’s difficult for a manager when you have to keep changing things around. He had his own players that he’d bought in from Rochdale and at the end of the season he didn’t want to sign me. To be honest, if he had offered me a contract I probably wouldn’t have stayed anyway as I didn’t really enjoy my time there. I was only there for 2-3 months and when you’re only at a place for a short time you don’t really feel a part of what’s going on at the club.
Then Dean Saunders came in for you. Was that a surprise? Did you know Dean was interested?
I think he showed interest quite early on as soon as the window opened. He was in contact with my agent and as soon as he said he wanted me and what the plans were for the club, I was very interested. I need to get my head down now and start playing well. It’s good to be somewhere where they are playing the right sort of football. Rovers play the sort of football I like to play where you get down there and pass it.
As a player you have lots of stresses. What do you do to relax away from football?
I like to spend time with my family. My wife and I take our 2 little children out to fun places, like the cinema and the park. We do the sort of things that everyone does really. We chill at home and play around with the kids.
Finally, do you play any other sports, such as golf?
Sometimes I play golf but my little boy also plays. He has lessons 3 times a week so I’m probably concentrating more on him outside of football rather than me just going out and playing for myself.