Derby County manager Gary Rowett has revealed he turned down a chance to sign Manchester United defender Victor Lindelof during his stint as manager of Birmingham City.

The former Leicester City defender managed the Blues for two seasons between 2014 & 2016 before being appointed the manager of the Rams at the start of the current campaign.

Rowett was working as a television pundit for United's 4-1 Carabao Cup win over Burton Albion in which the Sweden international featured. Lindelof joined the Red Devils in a £31m ($41.8m) deal from Benfica this summer but is yet to nail down a regular spot in the team under Jose Mourinho.

Phil Jones and Eric Bailly are the manager's preferred central defence pairing with the Swede only being given a run out in the cup games. Lindelof played in United's Champions League win over FC Basel, but that was owing to the aforementioned duo serving bans.

Mourinho believes the Swedish defender is at the same level as his first choice pairing but admits that he will take time to adapt to the English game. Rowett revealed during the United game that Lindelof was not signed by Birmingham because the coaches felt he was 'not tough enough' and admitted that they had probably made a mistake in not signing him.

"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," Rowett said, as quoted by the Mirror.

"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," he added.

Victor Lindelof
Victor Lindelof joined United from Benfica during the summer transfer window Getty