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Championship manager explains why he didn’t sign Victor Lindelof

Gary Rowett rejected the chance to sign Victor Lindelof because he didn't think he was strong enough

He won’t be the first. He won’t be the last.

But Victor Lindelof is struggling slightly at the start of his Man United career.

The Sweden international stood out for the wrong reasons as United eased past Burton Albion 4-1 in the Carabao Cup.


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Which way is the bench?

Reuters
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Which way is the bench?

Speaking in the studio, Derby County manager Gary Rowett gave an intriguing insight into how close Lindelof came to playing in the Championship.

Rowett had the chance to sign Lindelof when he was at Birmingham but chose not to do so.

The 43-year-old said: “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.

Not quite good enough for Birmingham

Getty - Contributor
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Not quite good enough for Birmingham

“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.

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


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On your ‘ead son

AFP - Getty
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On your ‘ead son

Lindelof hasn’t been included in three of United’s four Premier League squads although he has played in the Champions League.

But Jose Mourinho is clearly trying to bed him in slowly, aware of the differences between football in England and Portugal.

The overwhelming consensus last night was that the 23-year-old was struggling to adapt to the physicality of English football.

The Premier League is a notoriously difficult division for defenders to come into.

Just ask Nemanja Vidic and Jerome Boateng, who both came through difficult periods in Manchester to establish themselves as top class defenders.

The question is, will Mourinho afford Lindelof that time?