VICTOR LINDELOF was snubbed by Birmingham because he “was not tough enough”.
The Swede last night made just his third competitive appearance for Manchester United since completing his £31million move from Benfica.
Derby boss Gary Rowett, working as a pundit during United’s 4-1 Carabao Cup win over Burton, revealed he almost signed the defender while in charge of the Blues.
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He told Sky Sports: “About two or three years ago when we first went into Birmingham, an agent called us and said Benfica were trying to get some of the younger players out to expose them to different levels.
“We had a look at him [Lindelof]. It’s ironic actually, I put it to the staff and some of them felt he wasn’t quite tough enough.”
“Then suddenly he’s being touted around at £20-30million so I think we made a mistake.
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“He got straight back into the Benfica team very quickly and of course went from strength to strength.”
Rowett watched as Lindelof, 23, and his new team-mates ran riot at Old Trafford to reach the fourth round, where they face Swansea away.
Marcus Rashford scored twice while Jesse Lingard and Anthony Martial also netted to maintain United’s rampant home form.
It is now 17 goals in five matches at the Theatre of Dreams which has left Jose Mourinho in a fantasy world.
But Championship side Burton finally silenced the stadium when Lloyd Dyer scored the first visiting goal in injury time.
Albion boss Nigel Clough said: “Our fans will go home with wonderful memories tonight.
“Nobody comes here expecting us to pull off a result but we gave a good account of ourselves and we scored a goal.”
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