Premier League Career: Everton (1994-1995), Derby County (1996-1998), Leicester City (2000-2002), Charlton Athletic (2002-2004)
Now manager of Derby County in the SkyBet Championship, Gary Rowett will be aiming one day to manage in the Premier League. His playing career took him to four clubs in the top-flight and his best days were with the Rams between 1996 and 1998 under the guidance of Jim Smith.
Rowett started his career at Cambridge United and was part of the team that finished fifth in the Second Division during the 1991-1992 campaign, the club’s best league finish to-date. After three strong campaigns at the Abbey Stadium, Rowett was signed by Everton for £200,000 in March 1994. His debut was a nightmare, featuring for just 11 minutes as Everton were crushed 5-1 at Hillsborough by Sheffield Wednesday. He would play only four times in the top-flight for the Toffees.
During his Everton stint, the full-back went out on-loan to Blackpool before being sold onto Derby in a part-exchange which saw Craig Short go to Goodison Park. He was more of a first-team regular at Derby. His first Premier League goal came in April 1997 in a victory over Aston Villa. He also struck in a win at Coventry City towards the end of the 1996-1997 campaign as Derby finished a creditable 12th in their maiden Premier League season.
He was sold to Birmingham City in 1998 but after failing to win promotion to the Premier League with the Blues, he moved back into the top-flight with Leicester City in 2000. He featured in every single game in 2000-2001 under Peter Taylor and even scored in a fine victory over Chelsea. Injuries then started to catch up with Rowett. He played just 11 times in Leicester’s 2001-2002 relegation season before moving to Charlton Athletic. His final game in the top-flight was on the opening weekend of the 2003-2004 campaign as Charlton went down 3-0 to Manchester City. A persistent knee injury put an end to his career and he went straight into management.
Rowett has managed Burton Albion and Birmingham City. He was surprisingly sacked by Birmingham in December 2016, despite sitting seventh in the Championship table and only outside the playoffs on goal difference. After a brief spell out of the game doing some punditry work with Sky Sports, he returned to management with Derby County in March 2017, succeeding Steve McClaren.