Kemar Roofe backing himself to hit the goal trail at Rangers

£4 million striker says he’s ready for the pressure of playing football in Glasgow

Kemar Roofe’s form for Leeds earned him a £7m move to Anderlecht. He joined Rangers last week for £4m. Picture: Michael Zemanek/BPI/Shutterstock
Kemar Roofe’s form for Leeds earned him a £7m move to Anderlecht. He joined Rangers last week for £4m. Picture: Michael Zemanek/BPI/Shutterstock

There is an expectation Kemar Roofe will be able to fill the goals void at Rangers which would open up with the departure of Alfredo Morelos. The 27-year-old shares that expectation.

This afternoon’s game against 
St Mirren might come too early for Roofe, following his £4 million move from Anderlecht on Tuesday. But when he is up to speed, he is sure he can be up to the task.

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Roofe has never been prolific in the fashion of Morelos, who bagged 59 goals for the Ibrox club across the past two seasons. But then he has never played in the Scottish top flight for one of the dominant teams. The self-assured striker will back himself to improve on his numbers in the past two seasons. These amount to six league goals in 17 outings for the Brussels side, and 15 in the final season for Leeds United that earned him a £7m move to Belgium.

The St Mirren fixture might come too soon for Rangers' new recruit Kemar Roofe. Picture: Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images

“I’d like to think I’m up to the challenge of scoring goals here,” said the Walsall-born forward, who doesn’t see himself deviating from playing through the middle, despite being talked up as someone who is comfortable on the flank.

“That’s normal as a striker, a No.9. Everyone will expect me to score in every game, which isn’t realistic. That won’t happen but I’ll go out on the pitch trying to do it. As a striker, that’s why I play the game. I enjoy scoring, I want to score in every game. I’m here to score goals. To be honest, I can’t remember the last time I played out wide.

“My playing style is that I can play in many positions. Maybe that’s why people see me as a wide player. I can obviously do a job out there but at the moment I see myself as a No.9.”

It didn’t take Roofe joining Rangers to be aware of the scale of the Ibrox club. And he knows fine well the scale of what Steven Gerrard’s men are facing this season in being required to thwart Celtic’s historic ten-in-a-row pursuit – even if he may not quite appreciate the mind-melting intensity that it will induce. He’s played for big clubs, he knows the pressures, the former Oxford United player says, perhaps rather naively.

“I know how big Rangers are because I grew up in England watching football as a kid. It’s not common that you don’t know who Celtic or Rangers are. Everyone knows who these clubs are and they are massive. I also know players I’ve played with who are from Scotland or have played for Rangers or Celtic. They’ve told me a lot about it.

“I’ve been fortunate enough to play for Leeds and Anderlecht, who are massive in Belgium. I’ve had good experiences of big clubs where I’ve had to understand the culture and what it means to the area and to the fans. As soon as you understand what it means to the supporters and earn their respect, that’s huge.

“I know that if you’re second you’re nowhere in Glasgow. But that’s the case everywhere. It was the same at Leeds for me and in Belgium with Anderlecht. At Anderlecht, if you don’t win in style, it means nothing. Every club has a way of seeing things but the most important thing is just getting three points as often as possible.”

Asked about stopping ten-in-a-row, Roofe says: “It’s all about Rangers and what we do. It’s about us trying to win as many games as possible – I never focus on anyone else that I can’t control. I’m at Rangers, I’m part of it now and I want to contribute.

“I want to see that Rangers journey to the end, of course I do. I’m playing football because I want to win games, be successful and get better. Every club is always on a journey and there can only be one winner. For anyone who doesn’t win, they’ll be disappointed.”

How ever Roofe’s football journey ends he will be able to name drop with aplomb considering the managers at his last three clubs.

“When I retire, I’ll have not a bad CV having worked with guys like Bielsa, Kompany and Gerrard. They’re massive names in the game. Gerrard and Kompany were top, top players in their day who are now transitioning into being managers. Bielsa is a well-known top manager so working with these people will only benefit me at Rangers.”

As Gerrard must reap the benefits from him.

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