Kemar Roofe was our biggest signing in over 10 years when he signed in the summer and he arrived with an army of new players by his side. He has played second fiddle so far to the likes of Pontus Jansson, Kyle Bartley, Luke Ayling and Eunan O’Kane. His performances have got better and better to the point where he has had two very good games in the last four days, is it a coincidence that he is playing in the “10” role?
Alex Mowatt would have been the obvious choice to replace the injured Pablo Hernandez but the more time goes on the more we are realising that Alex Mowatt probably doesn’t cut it for Garry Monk. Kalvin Phillips was tried but to no effect at all. Next up was Kemar Roofe who has shown glimpse of his ability so far but hasn’t won over all fans. His performances in recent weeks have done exactly that. But for a whisker of the post last night he would have been looking at scoring the goal of the cup. That’s the sort of thing we are looking for from Roofe and in my opinion it’s not far away.
In behind Wood it worked at Rotherham. When Wood dropped deep Roofe took up the strikers role and he did the same last night with Souleymane Doukara. He also drifts naturally into wide positions and picks up good and threatening pockets to exploit space. His touch and ability on the ball aren’t in question for me it’s just about decision making and knowing when to go at a player and when to use a team-mate. That is where Garry Monk will come in and it’s showing now that he is learning and improving. He does need a goal to get his confidence back up to where it needs to be but the assists have been coming and with better finishing he could have many more this season especially this season.
He is actually making a case for Pablo Hernandez to remain out of the team when he does return. The pair are very different players and the emergence of Roofe in this position probably means we won’t miss Hernandez as much as before. Hernandez is a master at picking up pockets of space and picking pass, Roofe is brilliant on the turn, jinking and dropping his shoulder. If he can continue to learn that position I think he and Wood could form a very dangerous partnership. With Sacko and Doukara on either side of him as well it’s a quick and skilful three with bags of potential. The three linked up very well last night and Dallas, our most creative player last season looked slightly out of place amongst them, his pace the main factor in that.
I expect Roofe to start in behind Chris Wood on Saturday and have a big impact on the game.