Gary Rowett reveals Birmingham turned down chance to sign Victor Lindelof


Victor Lindelof was given another rare opportunity to impress for Manchester United on Wednesday night as they took on Burton Albion in the EFL Cup.

The Sweden international joined the Red Devils from Benfica for over £30 million in the summer but Jose Mourinho has used him sparingly during the opening weeks of the campaign.

Just as he did with Henrikh Mkhitaryan this time last year, Mourinho is reluctant to throw his new centre-back in at the deep end in the Premier League and the appearance vs Burton was just his third in a United shirt.

Although the hosts put in a fairly assured display at Old Trafford to ease to a 4-1 win, there were a few shaky moments from Lindelof to suggest he isn't quite ready for the hustle and bustle of the Premier League just yet.

The 23-year-old was a little careless with possession on a couple of occasions and against a stronger opponent, his errors could have proven more costly.

However, it turns out Mourinho isn't the first person to have reservations over Lindelof's current suitability for the Premier League.

Ex-Birmingham manager Gary Rowett was in the Sky Sports studio to cast his opinion on the game and he revealed prior to kick-off that his former side actually turned down the chance Lindelof a few years ago.

Rowett, now at Derby, admitted that they felt the young defender might not have been tough enough to cope with the physicality of English football.

Manchester United v Burton Albion - Carabao Cup Third Round

"About two or three years ago when we first went into Birmingham an agent called us and said: 'We are trying to get some of our younger players out to expose them to different levels.'

"We had a look at him (Lindelof) and put it to some of the staff, but it was ironic because they felt he wasn't probably quite tough enough.

"Then suddenly he's been touted around at £20m or £30m. So I think we made a mistake.

Manchester United v Burton Albion - Carabao Cup Third Round

"To be fair he got straight back in the Benfica side very quickly and of course went from strength to strength."

It does just go to show how quickly things can change in football.

Lindelof's next appearance for the Red Devils is likely to come in the Champions League tie with CSKA Moscow, as Eric Bailly and Phil Jones are still suspended.

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