Kemar Roofe has been a standout performer at the spearhead of Leeds’ attack so far this season, but his journey to become the focal point of Marcelo Bielsa’s forward-line has not been straightforward.
Indeed, a return of 4 goals from 6 appearances in the league this season has cemented Roofe’s status as both a fan-favourite and Bielsa-favourite. The 25-year-old has missed the past 5 games through injury but it’s likely that he’ll be reinstalled to the starting line-up shortly after his return – even with Tyler Roberts’ fine form to consider.
But Roofe has been forced to work hard for his opportunity through the middle: Chris Wood was the club’s talisman when he moved to Elland Road in 2016, and the New Zealand international notched 30 goals from 48 appearances during Roofe’s debut 2016/17 campaign, taking his tally to 44 in his Leeds career.
Leeds moved into the transfer market to sign Caleb Ekuban and Pierre-Michel Lasogga to fill the void left by Wood, but neither player managed to convince at centre-forward.
Roofe predominantly played as a winger during the 2017/18 campaign and he showcased his poachers instinct by notching 11 goals from 36 appearances.
With Wood out of the picture, Lassoga returning to Hamburg and Ekuban deemed surplus to requirements, Roofe was handed the opportunity to thrive at centre-forward under Bielsa this season.
On the basis of his performances so far it seems that Roofe is naturally suited to playing at centre-forward and it’s arguably his best position – Wood’s departure simply represented a catalyst for Leeds to realise that.
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