FORMER Islander Gary Rowett, the manager of Championship side, Millwall, has been acting as much of a dad to his squad of players as his four children during lockdown.

Gary, who was brought up in Cowes and who used to deliver the Isle of Wight County Press newspaper as a teenager, is the former boss of Burton Albion, Birmingham City, Derby County and Stoke City, and took over the reins at Millwall in October last year.

In an interview he gave to Millwall FC's website, he described what it was like being in lockdown.

"It's such a strange and weird time for everybody, but I'm in a position of not being affected by coronavirus," Gary said.

"The weather has been good and I'm thankful I have a little bit of space other people haven't got, like those living in city apartments.

"You have to try to get through it and be positive about it, rather than worry about what's round the corner. 

"I'm spending plenty of time with my family.

"I've been keeping busy, day to day. On the second day of lockdown, my wife gave me the job of home schooling my 11 year old son and the first thing he had was science — chemical reactions.

"I quickly realised why I had taken up football as a career and not as a science teacher as I didn't know what they were talking about.

"I've been pretty busy at home. I have four kids.

"There has been some tidying up and de-cluttering and a few odd jobs needed doing in the garden and around the house, plus the mundane things you do in lockdown — a bit of exercise and the things I'd put off over the past year, in between occasional periods of boredom.

"The club had a very good plan in terms of how we were going to keep the players fit and maintained, and ramp up their levels, which has been very difficult in terms of the timescales.

"Our sports science and physio staff have been brilliant — working very hard to keep the programme interesting and to keep up engagement levels.

"From a human perspective, I've been in constant contact with the lads.

"I've run around every single player just to see how they are, their families are and whether the virus has affected them and if there is anything I could do to make things better for them.

"Those with kids haven't had time to be bored, while the ones without kids, not quite knowing what to do, have been getting out, exercising.

"Overall, it has gone quite well."