Tommy Rowe hoping his Doncaster Rovers return last long time

THERE is an elder statesman role waiting to be occupied at Doncaster Rovers following the retirement of James Coppinger and the departure of Andy Butler.

That is where former captain Tommy Rowe is planning to come into his own.

Rowe, who turns 33 in September, recently re-joined Rovers for a second spell, signing a two-year deal following his release from Championship outfit Bristol City.

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A mature, thoughtful professional who has always displayed the capacity to talk a good game as well as play one, his presence on the pitch and in the dressing room should be invaluable in the months ahead.

Doncaster's Tommy Rowe. Picture: Andrew Roe/AHPIX LTD,

Further down the line, Rowe looks a natural to step into the coaching realm at some point. But that can wait for a good while yet. A good while.

Someone who he knows well in Coppinger played throughout his 30s and his powers did not diminish with age. It is something that chimes with another top professional in Rowe.

He told The Yorkshire Post: “I love football, it is infectious and when you have played it for so long, you just become ingrained in it.

“I would not rule it (coaching) out and will continue to study about it. But speaking to Copps in particular, he told me how the latter years of his career panned out and that sort of advice is fantastic.

IN CHARGE: Doncaster Rovers' Richie Wellens

“He has been through it and played late and it is definitely something I look up to in terms of wanting to play for the rest of my 30s. It is something I dream of more than anything.

“Hopefully, I can push on now and look after my body and give myself the best possible chance to play for many more years for Doncaster.”

Another player who contributed on the pitch at Rovers at a senior age in Richie Wellens is now orchestrating matters from the touchline and for Rowe, that was another good reason to return to South Yorkshire.

A fellow Mancunian – albeit from the north side of the city in Moston – Wellens started his career at Manchester United like Rowe, who hails from Wythenshawe in the city’s south.

LEGEND: Doncaster Rovers' James Coppinger Picture: Tim Goode/PA

Similarities extend to the pair’s sharp footballing instincts on the pitch and straight-talking off it. On several levels, it is easy to see why they would get on.

Rowe commented: “I have known the gaffer from a distance for a while now. I know a lot more about his career than he knows about mine with him being older.

“He is certainly someone I have kept my eye on for a while, especially as a manager as he done really well in the spells he’s had and probably been a bit unlucky with how it has turned out at some clubs.

“You can clearly see that as a manager, he has a philosophy and backs himself.

BACK FOR MORE: Doncaster Rovers Tommy Rowe, during his first stint at the club. Picture James Hardisty.

“If the club backs him – which seems to be happening right now – you get the other pieces which go along with that. For me, that is when a manager can really go and show that strength. I have been around managers who haven’t had that.

“The gaffer pulls no punches with me and always tells me how it is and that is what I like.

“I have had managers who have said things and not backed them up. Straightaway, he told me straight and as a player, you crave that and can relate to it.

“We have been around football long enough to know what is real and fake and there is nothing fake about the manager.”

Rowe’s second coming at Rovers sees the club face mouth-watering derbies against Sheffield Wednesday and Rotherham United in the opening month of the campaign, but a diary date in late autumn on November 27 is likely to be circled with red ink by the Mancunian.

Rowe faces his younger brother Danny, who plays at Burton Albion, at the Pirelli Stadium with the return scheduled for April 23 at the Keepmoat Stadium, Rovers’ last scheduled home game of the 2021-22 campaign.

On locking horns with his sibling again, he added: “It is not the first time in my career. He usually throws an injury when he knows he is playing against me!

“I don’t mind that because I know he is a little bit quicker. But he knows that if I catch him, I am probably going to smash him!”