TONY Mowbray is still not ruling out Jack Rodwell being a Rovers player next season.

The former Everton and Manchester City man is a free agent after a single season at Ewood Park and his future has been up in the air throughout the summer.

With the countdown very much on to the new Championship season kicking off against Charlton Athletic on August 3 time is seemingly of the essence.

Rodwell did not report back for pre-season training and has been in Australia while tentative talks continue over his future.

Despite wanting to finalise his squad for next season, Bradley Johnson and Stewart Downing arriving and David Raya departing so far this off-season, Mowbray remains relaxed about the situation despite being some way from a resolution. 

“Jack’s been away to be honest,” the Rovers boss said.

“He’s been in Australia. His agent has been in contact but there’s nothing concrete.

“It’s more a case of waiting until he gets back and then we’ll see where it goes.

“I haven’t ruled it out and said ‘we’re definitely not signing Jack Rodwell’.

“It’s an opportunity. If it’s something he wants to do and maybe we can facilitate it then I wouldn’t rule it out.

“But it’s not something that’s imminent.”

The 28-year-old made 22 appearances last season and scored in the 3-0 win over Hull at Ewood Park in January.

It was a step in the right direction for three-cap England international after a nightmare spell at Sunderland following a £10 million move from Manchester City.

Now Mowbray believes that should Rodwell commit to a second year in East Lancashire then he ought to be looking to make himself a mainstay of a Rovers side looking to push towards the sharp end of the Championship after finishing 15th as they established themselves back in the second tier. 

“I like Jack Rodwell as a lad, I’m not sure what his expectation and ambition is but if he comes back he has to try and start,” the Rovers boss said.

“His talent should be getting him in the team.

“Last year he missed a lot. a lot of football and maybe he will be stronger this year.”

Despite injury issues, Rothwell offered some versatility to Mowbray last season playing in both the centre of defence and further forward in midfield, where he has plied his trade for the majority of his career. 

There have been no new recruits at the back with long-time target Patrick Bauer electing to join Red Rose rivals Preston North End on leaving Charlton.

Midfield has been where deals have come to fruition so far for Rovers with the arrivals of Johnson and Downing on free transfers.