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Gemma Thompson

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We caught up with the pair in Marbella this week to talk recharging the batteries, Bruno Fernandes, Brandon Williams and, in Tim’s case, getting back to full fitness.

Scroll down to read our exclusive Q&A with the young defenders…

Good to see you both. How has it been, being back out on the training pitch?
AWB: “It felt good, after the week off we had. It’s good to be out here in the sun and to regroup with the team.”
TFM: “Obviously when we haven’t seen each other for a week, then it’s always good. To be back and in this nice weather it makes it even better.”

Was it nice to have that first week off to recharge your batteries and just get away and chill out?
AWB: “Yeah, I think it was needed, with the amount of games we’d been playing. [It’s] something that helped a lot.”
TFM: “Obviously I had a big injury, so I was still recovering but the lads played a lot of games, midweek games and weekends, and I think it was needed too.”

Bruno Fernandes is here as well. How has he been settling in?
AWB: “I think he’s settled in right. He’s got a few of the Spanish players looking after him. I think he’s settled in right and we're just looking forward to what he brings to the team.”

You mentioned your fitness, Tim. How is it going?
TFM: “Yeah, I had a problem with my quad and I think it needed one or two weeks [of recovery] so it came at the right time for me to be back here with the team and to keep going with my progress. I just can’t wait to be back.”

Are you hoping to be involved again soon?
TFM: “Yeah, I hope to be back this month, definitely.”

Is being injured a tough thing to cope with mentally?
TFM: “Yes, because this was my first big injury. I had a little problem with my shoulder [before], for two weeks or three weeks, but this time I did my ligament and it took me eight and a half months to get back so it’s very difficult. But I had the right people around me and the club was looking after me so it’s a learning process as well in my career.”

A question for you both now. When you look at the options the manager has got in defence, especially at full-back, how would you say someone like Brandon has done when they’ve come into the first team?
AWB: “Yeah, I think he’s done well. I even noticed him before he started playing. He used to come up and train, he just looked hungry, like he wanted to be there. You can see he’s fighting for that position and that’s all a kid ever wants to do.”
TFM: “He has been doing very well. He’s young, he has a lot of qualities and I think he will be even better.”

The manager is renowned for giving young players a chance and that’s what the club is renowned for. Is that helpful for you guys, to be in it together as young players, helping each other along?
TFM: “Yeah, for sure. It’s the manager who gives young players a chance but we always know this is what the club stands for as well. So you have this as a young player, you have this in the back of your mind and you just want to keep going and keep improving yourself.”

Aaron, Tim has helped you settle in Manchester and Old Trafford, but which of the older players have you spoken to and how have they helped you?
AWB: “Eric [Bailly] has helped me a lot. I remember in pre-season he was looking after me a lot because Tim wasn’t really there. He basically just took me under his wing, he made me comfortable. That helped me, especially as a quiet person coming from a different team. It’s something you need and that really helped a lot.”

And what advice did he give you about the club?
AWB: “Just to play your game. Don’t listen to the negatives, just try to play your game. Don’t let anything distract you.”

When you look back to when you joined the club, what’s the biggest thing you think you’ve learned since then?
AWB: “Since I’ve joined the club… I would say it's really just getting to know the squad. I think that’s the main thing. The squad’s been good to me since I’ve joined.”

Tim, the next few weeks after the winter break will be another hectic time, with three competitions to play in. Is everyone looking forward to those challenges?
TFM: “Yeah, definitely. We have a lot of games coming up, tough games as well, but that’s what you can expect at this club so everyone is definitely looking forward to them.”

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Gemma Thompson

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