In a CFB exclusive, our chief football writer James Rowe sat down with Rangers striker Kemar Roofe.
You recently signed for Rangers FC. How proud are you to make such a transfer and what were the deciding factors in your decision to sign for the club?
To be honest every time I do move clubs it is a proud moment because someone has got to want you, someone has got to be impressed by you and someone must like you to want you so it is always a good sign and it gets boosted a bit more when it is the likes of Vincent Kompany, Steven Gerrard they are big names and knowing that these big names are watching and like the way you play means a lot.
You played three seasons for Leeds United. How do you look back on your time at the club and do you have any highlights or special memories?
I enjoyed my time at Leeds United a lot and I really like the club. Leeds United are a club that will stay close to my heart. They are a massive club with an excellent fan-base as well. It was a real journey it really was each year I improved and each year the team improved and also the relationship between myself and the fans improved and I understood them and what they wanted from me as a player as well and it helps because they are the ones that will encourage you the most on the pitch and give you that extra boost and motivation to go a little bit harder at times.
You played abroad for arguably the biggest club in Belgium RSC Anderlecht. How do you look back on your time abroad and do you have any special memories or highlights?
Like you said RSC Anderlecht are the biggest club in Belgium so when they come ringing and asking for you especially with Vincent Kompany as the player manager it is a hard one to turn down and I thought why not?
These great opportunities are not going to come round every season and not many players get the opportunity to go to a club like RSC Anderlecht and play in a different country. It was a different style of football which suited me a lot. I learned a lot under Vincent Kompany and enjoyed my time at the club.
We had a difficult season because I went there with an injury and I was going to do my rehab, be patient and wait for my chance for when I am fully fit to be able to help the team out. There was a lot of new players that season so everyone was learning the system so that took a bit of time so the start of the season for the team was not the greatest and then Coronavirus came and stopped the season which messed us up a lot because we were only one place away from the play-offs with eleven games to go and we were growing game by game and we were getting a lot stronger and we all believed that we could have had the final push and make it to the Europa League spots.
Unfortunately Coronavirus came and stopped that and to be honest Coronavirus prevented that season from really progressing and being successful but I really enjoyed my time at RSC Anderlecht and I learned a lot and then Rangers FC came knocking and RSC Anderlecht were in a position where they needed to sell and the deal got done.
You have accrued a lot of experience in England , Belgium and now Scotland could you say who are among the best players you have played alongside so far in your career?
I would have to say that Vincent Kompany is just unbelievable and he makes such a difference and I learned a lot from him both on and off the pitch. The likes of Samir Nasri and Nacer Chadli. They both had a few injuries during the season so they were not able a times to hit their peak due to injury but their careers speak for itself.
I can imagine in your position as a winger/ striker that you have come up against difficult opponents through the years so far in your career. Could you say which opponents have stood out in terms of talent and ability?
KIt’s a hard question because I always go into games and play my game not focusing on the opposition or the defenders because I am confident enough and I believe in myself that I have done enough during the week or during my career practice wise and that I have put the work in also in the gym to be able to be positive and believe in whatever I do if I do it one hundred percent that it is going to be enough and that I am going to get through and be ok. I have never really been aware of other players of the opposition. That being said I have played against some good defenders and good teams.
Finally Kemar. Could you say who are the coaches and managers who have meant a lot to you so far and how played a key role in your development as a professional footballer?
He is not a manager but the main person is my Dad Glendon Roofe. He is the one that started it and will be there until I finish my career. He is the one that has got and had the most influence on my career. The way I play and everything that I have learned in football is ninety percent from him and the rest is obviously experience and picking up things from coaches and other managers like Marcelo Bielsa, Vincent Kompany and Steven Gerrard.
I also like to pick things up from the older players, the experienced players as I mentioned, Samir Nasri, Jermain Defoe, Nacer Chadli these are players that have played at the top level and being in and around them everyday and seeing what they do, seeing how they act and seeing the little things they do in training and how they train and the way that they think as well sometimes I would think I am doing things correctly or is my opinion the same as anyone else’s and those guys that have been there and done it a lot of the time it is very similar so it is nice to kind of compare yourself to these guys.
They way in which Marcelo Bielsa and Steven Gerrard see the game it is not let’s line up eleven against eleven and see what happens at the final whistle it is not like that. Everything is thought out and there is a reason behind why we are doing it, actual tactics and we will train a certain way to help us in the next game. We will set up a certain way and players will get certain roles and jobs to do for different games so it’s like a game of chess basically. It is not always down to who works the hardest running wise or who is strongest or skillful there is a lot more to it such as formations, positions and how to actually play certain formations. There is so much behind it and there is a lot of thought that goes into it.