Kemar Roofe, like many Leeds United players, has had to endure some tough times and high levels of criticism during his time at the club. The striker wasn’t always that, he was forced to play in wide areas from the off and although he did show promise he was never going to be a key player from that position.
A £3 million signing from League Two Roofe was expensive at that time, Leeds hadn’t made many signings at that time with this sort of fee, not for many years. Chris Wood was another, he had arrived a year before but in the main he was a marquee signing. That’s big pressure for a player trying to make a step up two divisions. He had helped his side to promotion that season, winning the League Two player of the year.
How did we see Roofe? Quick, tricky and direct. In actual fact he isn’t those things, but being played out wide you didn’t get to see his attributes properly. Make no mistake Roofe is quick, but his attributes that stand-out today aren’t tricks and aren’t him being direct. Roofe is intelligent, he runs the channels and pulls defenders all over. The use of his body has improved remarkably improved and that has been helped by some clear work in the gym, bulking up and becoming much stronger than previous seasons.
Marcelo Bielsa has certainly influenced the way Roofe is playing. The football starting from the back means Roofe can drop deep and help with the build-up if needs be and can spin and play on the shoulder. Yesterday we saw both. So far under Bielsa Roofe has a very good record. If you include pre-season games he has scored five goals in six games under the new head-coach, three in three in the league. Patrick Bamford now realises the challenge at Leeds is first to break into the side.