Surprise start for Kemar Roofe as Rangers face Dundee

Surprise start for Kemar Roofe as Rangers face Dundee
Rangers' English striker #25 Kemar Roofe heads the ball during the UEFA Europa League group C football match between Glasgow Rangers and Real Betis at Ibrox Stadium in Glasgow, Scotland, on September 21, 2023. (Photo by ANDY BUCHANAN / AFP) (Photo by ANDY BUCHANAN/AFP via Getty Images)

Kemar Roofe’s road to recovery is continuing today after the Jamaica striker was named in David McCallum’s B side to face Dundee at Auchenhowie.

It’s a rare start for the striker, who is immensely unlikely to get a new deal at Ibrox this summer as his current one expires, but who has been suggested by senior manager Philippe Clement as potentially playing an important role for the rest of the season, provided he can stay fit.

Fitness is the former Leeds striker’s Achilles heel for sure, missing a tonne of football since he signed his Rangers contract four years ago in the summer of 2020, and with yet another injury earlier this season, sustained as innocuously as striking the ball, it’s seemed so unlikely he could play much of a role.

But with the matches thick and fast and Europe as well as domestic being Rangers’ battleground, Roofe was named by ex-manager Michael Beale in the Europa League squad, a change Clement was unable to make due to UEFA restrictions.

This means Roofe may well be used in the last 10 minutes here and there in matches, particular European ones, and it’s as much a shop window for him this summer as it is to Rangers’ benefit to have his quality to call on with 10 minutes to go.

See, no one ever doubted Roofe’s ability – he’s proven his quality and composure many times over – he’s one of the most clinical finishers at the club.

But when it comes to being available, he’s infinitely less impressive, and his place in McCallum’s side today is with the belief he can remain fit enough to offer something in Rangers’ Europa League squad from the bench.

It’s all about getting him minutes in matches like these to build the body up and try to get him to be able to handle the rigour of Rangers.

It is unlikely he’ll play much in the rough and tumble of domestic Scottish football – it’s just too physical, but when it comes to Europe, it’s a higher calibre and he’s proven himself at that level many times over. Ask Liege.

We hope he comes through today’s fixture unscathed.

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