JOE Rothwell has turned down Oxford United's offer of a new contract and joined Blackburn Rovers.

The midfielder will move to the newly-promoted Sky Bet Championship side for an undisclosed fee when his contract ends this summer.

The 23-year-old joined the U's from Manchester United in 2016 and went on to make 57 starts and 27 substitute appearances, scoring eight goals.

United boss Karl Robinson indicated earlier this month that he expected Rothwell to move back up north, and said he left with the best wishes of everyone at the club.

“Joe is a talented player and has done well for the club," the U's manager told the club's official website.

"But as with Ryan Ledson earlier in the summer, he has a chance to test himself in a higher league and it is closer to home as well.

"Blackburn met our valuation and so he moves on with our thanks and best wishes.

“At the same time it opens the door for someone else.

"In Samir Carruthers we have already brought in a player who has twice been with clubs promoted from this division so we will continue to strengthen and build for what I am sure will be a very successful season.”

Rothwell said: "It’s a great opportunity for me and I can’t wait to get started.

"But I want to thank everyone at Oxford. It’s a fantastic club, Karl has been brilliant with me ever since he arrived, and I would like to thank the fans, staff and everyone around the club for making my time at Oxford so memorable.”