Philippe Clement address Kemar Roofe Rangers status, forwards' fitness and contract situations

The Jamaican is getting closer to playing 90 minutes – but the Belgians options are increasing elsewhere

Rangers manager Philippe Clement believes injury-hit striker Kemar Roofe is ready to play 90 minutes – but the Jamaican striker faces stiff competition for a place in the Ibrox club’s frontline between now and the end of the season.

Roofe’s season has been blighted by a hip injury that required surgery and has only made fleeting appearances under Clement since the Belgian arrived in October. The 32-year-old, who is out of contract at the end of the season, came off the bench for Rangers during their 1-0 defeat by Benfica before the international break but was left out of the squad altogether for Saturday’s 3-1 win over Hibs, with fellow forward Abdallah Sima – fit for the first time since January 2 – taking Roofe’s place on the bench.

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“He’s getting better and better but of course he comes from a long way back,” Clement said of Roofe. “And there’s competition. There are also other players so it’s about him giving his best, which he has been doing in training, and raising his levels. He comes from far away because he hasn’t played too many minutes this season.

Kemar Roofe has not featured much for Rangers this term and his contract is up in the summer.Kemar Roofe has not featured much for Rangers this term and his contract is up in the summer.
Kemar Roofe has not featured much for Rangers this term and his contract is up in the summer.

Asked directly if Roofe is ready to play 90 minutes, Clement responded: “Physically yes but there’s also competition from other players. That way it’s a positive thing. I start to get headaches again about making decisions. But it’s only a positive thing for the club I think. He’s always been a natural goalscorer. He’s someone who’s really hungry to score goals and who is really active in the box and who works hard for the team also.”

With Sima back to augment his attacking options alongside Cyriel Dessers, Fabio Silva, Scott Wright and Roofe, Clement welcomes the selection headache. “Now I want not only to get these possibilities but to have these possibilities for 90 minutes,” he said. “That’s the next step to take with these guys coming back. At the moment it’s just watching and thinking ‘okay this guy can play 20, this one can play 30, this one can play 45’. And then make a good mix to win games. So you want to come to a situation where you have positive choices with guys who can play 90 minutes. Then it’s a real challenge for the players also to be in the exam.”

Roofe is one of a clutch of players at Ibrox whose contracts expire in the summer. Clement continues to give little away on the futures of players like him and John Lundstram, who is a first-team regular under the ex-Monaco boss but has yet to agree a fresh deal. “If there are agreements, you guys [in the media] will know directly,” added Clement. “Before that, there’s no reason to talk about anything. Because, you can say it’s close or it’s far away. But you can never really talk about that. It’s close when it’s signed. When it’s not signed – is is close or is it far? So there’s no reason to talk about those things until there’s an agreement.”



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