Before he came to Ibrox, STEVEN GERRARD knew of Kemar Roofe’s qualities as a player. Now, as he continues to develop at Rangers, he understands him better as a human.
With each passing week, the £ 3.5 million transfer fee Rangers paid Anderlecht for Roofe in the summer seems more like a smart decision. He will play a vital role for some time to come, having signed a four-year deal.
The more impressive the striker, the greater his effect on Ibrox will become, and he will make his Old Firm debut with an opportunity to shine on the most significant afternoon of the season as Gerrard’s side attempts to extend their lead at the top of the Premier League.
With 12 goals in 20 games, Roofe’s season so far has been very telling, but his work off the field has caught Gerrard’s eye as much as his results on the pitch in recent months.
Gerrard said, “He was a pleasure to coach and manage. He’s very low maintenance. He comes in and does all he’s asked for. He’s very low maintenance.”
In his training, he’s very thorough, works very hard and practices the way he plays.
He’s still training for the day of the game, so it’s no surprise that he’s in such great shape.
He’s a tyrant, not necessarily in the verbal sense, but he’s certainly someone on your side that you like.
For anyone else, he’s a role model and his ambitions speak for themselves. He’s done it his whole career, so being around him has been a real eye-opener.
We have been amazed at his leadership skills and admire how much he is a champion.
“Now that he’s back to full fitness, it’s really exciting to have him in our squad.”
Given his fine career at Leeds United before transferring to Belgium, when they added Roofe to their list of goals last summer, Rangers did not exactly have to discover a hidden gem.
Working to track down the 27-year-old was just part of the task, however. When Gerrard agreed that Roofe would fit into his unit, he had to make sure that he would fit into the squad smoothly.
“We’re doing a lot of research into his character, what he’s like, before we sign a player,” Gerrard said.
We are asking ex-players, former managers and coaches who have played or worked with them.
Before we push the green button, we get a lot of details and say, “Yes, we want to do this.”
They all had a really nice discussion and I had a lot of conversations with Vincent Kompany about the player, of course. Vincent didn’t want Kemar to fail.
That’s the truth and tells a story, but you may need to make certain decisions that are out of your control by certain managers and certain clubs.
“Before I went to Vincent, I knew we were dealing with a top player, a goal scorer and a workaholic, someone who is persistent and has plenty of consistency when it comes to winning the ball back.
“Having a leader in the group and someone who is low maintenance are two big pluses from a manager’s point of view.”