TONY Mowbray believes Lewis Holtby will bring flexibility to Rovers’ midfield options.

Holtby was known in his early days as an attacking midfielder, with creativity and flair key to his game.

In recent years for Hamburg he has occupied a deeper role, but both the manager, and Holtby himself, admit he’s comfortable operating across the central area of the pitch.

Lewis Travis and Bradley Johnson have started six of Rovers’ opening seven matches together in the middle of midfield, with John Buckley and Stewart Downing having played alongside Johnson in the Millwall win.

Richie Smallwood is yet to feature in a Championship matchday squad, while Corry Evans is still to play for Rovers in the Championship this term.

“I think that’s why he’s here, the flexibility of what he can do is the interesting aspect for us,” he said.

“He can play deeper but I think he can still the passes and play higher up the pitch, score goals, shoot from distance.

“When I look at his clips from the last few years he’s still very much an attacking midfield player, creative, can score, but he can control games from deeper, as Stewy Downing has done for us a few times in recent weeks and picked some lovely passes.”

Holtby was capped three times by Germany earlier in his career and has played at the top level in both the Premier League and Bundesliga.

Mowbray brought in Jack Rodwell, a former England international with similar top flight experience last season, but unlike Rodwell, Holtby has agreed a two-year, rather than 12 month, deal and has more recent experience of playing regular football.

Rodwell left Rovers after just 22 appearances and was more recently linked with a move to Panathinaikos. He is now training with New England Revolution, but wouldn't be able to earn a deal with the MLS club until January. 

“Lewis is just 29 and he’s a hungry footballer,” Mowbray added.

“In my conversations with him he was burning to get started, get his boots on and get on the grass.

“He played like that in training. He had a million touches in training, sprayed the ball about and just looks like he loves football.

“I’m hopeful he’ll work out for us.

“Him and Jack, they’re different players and personalities, yet both played for their countries and at the top of the game.

“Let’s see how this period in Lewis Holtby’s career and let’s hope it’s successful for all parties.”

Holtby has experience of playing in England for both Tottenham and Fulham.

On whether he now sees himself as a more deeper-lying midfielder, he said: “In my opinion I can do both. I can play in front of the back, as the No.8 and in the No.10 role so there’s a lot of variations there.

“We have a lot of good midfield players here so there will be some good competition and I think that’s what we need to come to the maximum of our potential.

“I will just try and give the club and the manager some difficult choices to make.”