Gary Rowett signed professional forms and made his debut for Cambridge Utd in the 1991-1992 season having come through the excellent youth policy at the Abbey Stadium. His first appearance was memorable as he scored the winner at Millwall having come on as a second half substitute. The remainder of that season (the most successful in Utd's history as they finished 5th in the old 2nd division) Rowett popped up in various positions when players were injured. In doing this, his real worth to Utd became apparent as he seemed to be able to do equally as well in defence or out on the wings.
The 1992-1993 season saw Rowett become a regular first team member as some of the stars of the previous few years were sold on, and he was an integral part of Utd's run to the league cup quarter finals as he scored the winner against Premier League Oldham in the 4th round. By now, we were as likely to see Rowett in the centre forward position as on the wings and his height made him a useful weapon - however, there were signs of a bad attitude creeping in towards the end of that relegation season and these were only compounded in the 1993-1994 season.
After relegation, Rowett became a very important member of the Utd team because he was able to play anywhere and was a possible future star which few of the others were. However, he couldn't handle this extra responsibility and would often drift through games without really contributing anything - on the odd occasion that he could be bothered, he looked a player of real class but this wasn't enough when Everton's excellent offer came in and Utd took the money and ran.
In essence, Everton have a player who has real potential but needs his attitude working on. He can be a very lazy player but is also one of undoubted skill and ability. As Rowett is still very young, he could prove to be a bargain buy but I've been astonished to see him playing in defence on the odd occasion that he's made the first team, as the more forward positions are far more to his liking and he is particularly skilful on the ball for a tall man.
Contributed by: Simon Gleave (email@example.com)