Preston North End v Huddersfield Town – Aaron Rowe happy to learn new tricks on career roller-coaster

It was nearly two years ago when Aaron Rowe made his Premier League debut as a winger, but only now is the Huddersfield Town youngster looking forward to a run in the side – as a Championship defender.

MAGIC MOMENT: Huddersfield Town's Aaron Rowe celebrates his goal against Plymouth in the FA Cup. Picture : Jonathan Gawthorpe

With Harry Toffolo injured, Rowe is set to line up at left-back or more likely left wing-back at Preston North End this afternoon. It is a role he says he always expected to play, but it has been a long route getting there.

Then 18, Rowe made his Terriers debut as a substitute at home to Bournemouth in March 2019, followed by a start at West Ham United.

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Last season was spent on loan at non-league Bromley and Boston United before appearing on the right wing in Huddersfield’s final game. This term has been bitty but a stunning FA Cup goal from right-back marked the first of five appearances in 2021, four from the start.

“I always thought I’d become a full-back, funnily enough, and here I am,” he says. “Maybe it’s because my brother (Hayes and Yeading United’s Omar) was a full-back. He always said I’d be a full-back and I always believed him.”

Dropping into non-league bruised the Londoner’s ego but never destroyed his belief he could make it in Yorkshire, where he now feels like an adopted Tyke.

“It does stunt your growth a bit and hurt your pride but you just have to suck it up and keep going,” he argues. “Football is always going to be a roller-coaster journey.

“I always believed I could come back up and flourish. I’ve got a strong family behind me and strong friends. I’ve always been ready for my chance, but you don’t know when it will come.”

Huddersfield Town's Aaron Rowe battles for the ball during his first start for the Terriers at West Ham United in March 2019. Picture: John Walton/PA

Rowe has the mixed blessing of perhaps Huddersfield’s two best players – Toffolo and Pipa – to compete with but also learn from.

“I watch them and gain a lot of insight into how a full-back is,” he says. “I always tend to ask questions of the experienced players.

“Early last year I started to feel comfortable but I wouldn’t say I’m an out-and-out full-back, I still see myself as an attacking player. But it’s refreshing to learn new things.”

Coach Carlos Corberan will decide if Yaya Sanogo, signed as a free agent this week, is ready to debut up front, where Fraizer Campbell is back after a stomach virus and Isaac Mbenza is another option after coming off the bench at Derby County. Danny Ward’s injury frustrations continue, however.

Richard Stearman is “close” to a return at centre-back, but Jonathan Hogg is expected to miss the next three matches.

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