“Wouldn’t it be fantastic if Kemar can get over the issues he has and be a big player for us next season?”

The answer to Michael Beale’s recent question remains yes. But it’s imperative to pose another when it comes to Kemar Roofe - how realistic is it that he can remain fit? 

The 30-year-old’s ability has rarely been questioned since he arrived from Anderlecht in the summer of 2020. 

Furthermore, since returning to the top-flight, Rangers have only spent more on Ryan Kent than the £4.5 million it cost to bring Roofe to Ibrox, which highlights how highly Steven Gerrard and Beale rated the versatile attacker.

Roofe has displayed his undoubted talent across the last three years and he was integral to winning 55 on his debut season - finishing second-highest goalscorer in the Scottish Premiership. 

The Jamaican international has also produced some memorable moments in the biggest of games; a double against Celtic in 2021, stunning half-way line goal against Standard Liege and his winner against Braga on route to the Europa League final. 

Roofe’s credentials as a big-game player were even underlined this season when he scored the winner against Aberdeen in the League Cup semi-final. 

But the question mark surrounding Roofe has always been his fitness record. He has been plagued with injuries this season - making only six appearances - but suggestions that he’s been constantly unavailable since joining Rangers are wide of the mark. 

Yes, Roofe missed games in his first two seasons - 13 and 14 respectively - but he still made a significant number of appearances in both - 36 in both 2020/21 and 21/22. 

Roofe’s attacking output in both seasons was impressive. He averaged a goal contribution every two games in 2021/22 with 16 goals and two assists across 36 appearances. 

His record was even better in his debut season when he netted 18 goals and three assists in 36 games. As displayed below, Roofe’s shot map highlights his shooting prowess and he outperformed his xG of 10.44 in the Scottish Premiership by scoring 14 goals. 

Rangers Review: Roofe's shot map.Roofe's shot map. (Image: SNS)

The graphic shows that the majority of Roofe’s shots come within 12 yards of goal and he possesses intelligent movement within the box which create goalscoring opportunities. 

Roofe’s attacking metrics for the 2021/22 also rank in the high percentile for xG, shots and touches in the box - but that’s expected from an attacking player in a dominant team like Rangers. 


Rangers Review:

Roofe’s xG per shot of 0.16 indicates that he’s clever in selecting when to shoot and he remains one of the best finishers at the club. 

So while he’s proven in the past that he can be an effective player for Rangers, what does the future hold? 

It will largely rely on Roofe’s ability to maintain his fitness next season. Videos posted on his Instagram would suggest that he’s stepping up his rehabilitation.

Like with John Souttar, Rangers have been cautious over his recovery and he’s spent time in the Middle East to maximize the plausibility of avoiding a recurrence of his injury problems. 

Roofe still has one year left on his contract, on good wages, and it’s highly unlikely that Rangers will find a buyer in the summer given those two factors. 

Beale has made little secret of his admiration of hybrid footballers, who can play in different roles within his tactical set-up, and Roofe fits this profile. 

He can play as a number nine but he’s also comfortable playing off the front behind a central striker. 

Ultimately, Roofe’s future next season will rest with Beale and the Rangers manager is a huge admirer of what the attacker can offer. 

If Beale’s words at the top of this article act as a hint over his feelings towards Roofe, the Rangers manager’s comments in January laid his affection clear. 

Beale labelled Roofe the ‘best player in training’ and said he’d left a ‘big hole’ in his team for him - which should act as a clear indication that Roofe can have a future at Ibrox next season.

He said: “The way I’ve set the team up - I have left a big hole for Kemar to come back. You look at the whole squad and how we should play to get the most out of a Malik Tillman or Scott Arfield, for example.

“If Kemar can get fit and healthy, he’ll come into the team and slot right in.

“But I will only be as successful as how fit the players are. That’s why in the transfer window, I have to think: ‘if this one comes in, how will it impact someone else’? Kemar is extremely frustrated. He is a really outgoing kid, a bubbly character and a leader.

“Three or four weeks ago he was the best player in training by a distance. But the day before the game, he had a calf problem again. It was devastating for me and the team.

“I’m optimistic about Kemar now but the proof will be in the pudding. He has aims here and he is incredibly frustrated that he couldn’t help us more. But he feels if he is fit he can make a huge impact on how successful we are. I think he would say he is ready now.”