Soccer

Rangers striker Kemar Roofe talks playing for Steven Gerrard, and scoring that Europa League goal

As Rangers prepare for their first ever encounter against Belgian side Royal Antwerp FC in the Round of 32 of the Europa League, a very important question for striker Kemar Roofe remains. Does he still think about that ridiculous halfway line goal he scored against Standard Liege in the group stages? 

“That was a bucket list goal,” he says laughing, speaking to ¡Que Golazo! And CBS Sports. “I’ve ticked it off, I’m satisfied. But when it comes to the important goals where — off the knee, a tap-in, off the line — to win you those vital three points or to win the league, or to win a cup…they’re the big ones.”

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That’s essentially who Roofe is, a hard-working, no-nonsense player who wants to win first, look good second. His manager Steven Gerrard loves him, appreciating his work rate and leadership qualities. But as far as that goal against Standard Liege was concerned? “I’ve been playing football professionally since 1998 and it’s the best goal I’ve ever seen live with my own eyes,” said Gerrard right after the game was finished. 

Roofe appreciates the compliment, and he’ll be the first to tell you how much a player enjoys a compliment. But to him, the chance to work under Steven Gerrard is enough praise. 

“It’s a blessing [to work with him]….he’s been a top player, we’re not just talking about an average-okay player, we’re talking about World class, a top player of his generation,” says Roofe. “And now to be able to work with him, listen to what’s he got to say – good things about myself and also the bad things, to be able to improve – it’s massive.”

Roofe’s education under his last three managers is quite something. Before Gerrard, there was Anderlecht, working with the one and only Vincent Kompany, and before that, it was Marcelo Bielsa. Roofe can boast of essentially having a PHD in soccer education. 

“Before signing for Rangers, I was speaking to an ex-player and he mentioned that to me!” says Roofe. “If I ever wanted to go into management when I retire, the guys I have worked with…is a good list! I’ve been fortunate to be able to do so.” 

The Scottish Premiership is basically done and dusted for Rangers. They lead Celtic by 18 points and yes, while it’s not over, it basically is. The Europa League, therefore, can offer a larger spotlight. 

All Roofe can do is work harder on his game and help Rangers go deeper in the tournament. But for him, it begins with his work ethic and what he can offer. 

“Everyday I want to improve, knowing I am going back home knowing I have given my most,” says Roofe. 

For the full interview, including Roofe’s thoughts on his old manager Marcelo Bielsa and the remaining bullet points from his bucket list, make sure you listen to our Europa League preview on ¡Que Golazo! 



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