The expert view from Leeds United on new Rangers signing Kemar Roofe - Bielsa impact, natural finisher, injuries

The 27-year-old joined the club from Anderlecht on Tuesday – Yorkshire Evening Post journalist Joe Urquhart provides insight

Kemar Roofe became Rangers’ fifth signing of the summer when he was announced on Tuesday to much fanfare.

There was real excitement surrounding a player who has previously been linked with the club and was talked up as a possible Alfredo Morelos replacement for weeks.

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Scotland international defender Liam Cooper, a former team-mate of Roofe’s, was quick to tweet his delight at the player's move, calling him "some player”.

Kemar Roofe joined Rangers on Tuesday after a season with Anderlecht. Picture: GettyKemar Roofe joined Rangers on Tuesday after a season with Anderlecht. Picture: Getty
Kemar Roofe joined Rangers on Tuesday after a season with Anderlecht. Picture: Getty

Cooper would go on BBC Sportsound and talk up the striker's qualities and he noted the striker's fondness for the gym.

Meanwhile, English Football League expert George Elek tweeted: “*googles record goals in a Scottish Premiership season*”

We have profiled Roofe's new team-mate Cedric Itten in detail after he joined on the same day, but what of Roofe?

Leeds United reporter for the Yorkshire Evening Post, and Leeds fan, Joe Urquhart gave us the lowdown on the 27-year-old who arrived from Anderlecht.

Roofe was hugely impressive in his final season at Elland Road under Marcelo Bielsa. Picture: GettyRoofe was hugely impressive in his final season at Elland Road under Marcelo Bielsa. Picture: Getty
Roofe was hugely impressive in his final season at Elland Road under Marcelo Bielsa. Picture: Getty

Q – So, firstly, what kind of player are Rangers getting in Kemar Roofe?

A – When he first arrived at Leeds he was a player who didn't really have a place in the team. He featured in midfield, out wide, as a playmaker and then as a striker - which is where many saw as his natural spot given his success at Oxford United.

His best position is as an out and out forward, clearly, and that is where he played his best football for Leeds.

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United were a poor team when he arrived, and without having a clear position he didn't make a lot of impact in the early stages of his stint at the club. His second season was a lot better - despite Leeds struggling in mid-table - and he actually finished as joint top goalscorer on 14, playing as a striker.

Roofe's final campaign at the club was by far his best and I don't think it was any coincidence that the arrival of Marcelo Bielsa helped him tremendously. He was given the confidence of being the main man at the start of the season and was tasked with leading the line as a lone frontman.

He won the August Championship Player of the Month award as he scored four goals and bagged two assists in the opening month.

Roofe's form was so good that he kept marquee summer signing Patrick Bamford out of the side initially. Like Bamford, he struggled a tad with injuries but he led Bielsa's front press tremendously on his own

Roofe scored 15 goals in the Championship in his last season - no mean feat - and I think he would've probably been above the 20 mark had he not missed a few months due to nagging injury problems.

Q – What are his main attributes?

A – He's pacey, physical and has no issue in doing the dirty work - he's a natural finisher as well, you could see that in his final season; he scored some great goals.

When I heard Rangers were linked with him I thought it made a lot of sense. If Morelos does leave, he has a great chance to shine there and feels like a perfect fit for Steven Gerrard's system.

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Q – How is he thought of/remembered at Leeds United?

A – He's remembered well. After his first couple of seasons with the club, fans were fairly indifferent to Roofe - but his final campaign proved what an asset he was.

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He ended up being a fairly vital cog in Bielsa's machine and his finishing had vastly improved. Many at Elland Road wanted him to stay, but like most things in football it came down to a contract impasse and sadly he left.

Q – Rangers largely play with a Christmas tree formation, two 10s behind the striker, is he able to operate in that role?

A – Definitely. He led the line for Bielsa and with the way Leeds attack they overload on the flanks and behind the front man.

He isn't the biggest but he's deceptively strong; put the ball at his feet in the box and he'll find the back of the net more often than not.

Q – What should excite Rangers fans most about the signing?

A – He's a confident chap and I think he could really thrive in Scotland. His finishing is probably what I'd say; he should get plenty of chances and he was a top Championship striker just a season ago. There is no reason why he can't thrive for Rangers.

Q – A lot has been made of injury issues at Anderlecht. Is that something that should worry Rangers fans?

A – It is a little bit of a concern because he struggled with Leeds as well.

One thing I would point out, though, is that when he signed for Anderlecht he was already injured and therefore didn't have any preseason fitness work or match action. He still scored six in 13 in the league - but for anyone going into a season injured it's always difficult playing catch up.

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Q – Is there anything on top of possible injury concerns Rangers fans should be concerned about?

A – I don't think so. He's a nice guy and doesn't really have much of an ego; more of a quiet confidence. He'll give his all on the pitch and he was successful at Leeds playing under huge external pressure from supporters to deliver so he has that experience.