Leeds United forward Kemar Roofe did not enter the season with a lot of expectations. He had been played as a winger under Garry Monk after transferring to the club in the summer of 2016 from Oxford United. He had an underwhelming 2016-17 season, scoring only four goals while adding in seven assists in all competitions. And while he looked brilliant at times in preseason, it was still only preseason. It was thought that Roofe would have a chance to play some out on the wing again, with perhaps getting some time at striker if Thomas Christiansen were to use a two striker formation from time-to-time.
Once Roofe was moved to striker out of necessity after the departure of Chris Wood to Burnley and the injury to Caleb Ekuban early on in the season, he seemed to blossom. He had a hat trick against Newport County in the League Cup, and honestly, he could have easily scored four. He didn’t look nearly as good when played on the wing after Pierre-Michel Lasogga got into the side, but when Leeds went on a nice run in December and November, it was Roofe playing as the striker that seemed to help spur the team on.
Leeds United’s hat trick hero Kemar Roofe #lufc pic.twitter.com/OiCYP6wUho— West Yorkshire Sport (@WYSdaily) December 9, 2017
Perhaps his greatest performance of the season came against Queens Park Rangers where he again scored a hat trick, leading Leeds into playoff contention in the early part of December.
However, as good as that performance was, Roofe also had matches where he seemed to disappear. He was not nearly as consistent a threat in front of goal on a regular basis, and if he is to truly be a starting striker in the Championship, he’s going to have to find more consistency. He’s not really a winger, although he can play out wide. And he’s not really a striker, at least not a starting one for a team going for promotion.
Season Grade: B
It might be a little generous to give Roofe a B, but going into the season Roofe wasn’t highly regarded at all or faced with a lot of expectations. He did lead Leeds in goal scoring, although six of his 14 goals in all competitions came in just two matches. Had he stepped up his performances in January and February, when Leeds were in dire straights and starting their slide down the table, you could have made the case for an A, but Roofe went missing all too often in those matches. Balancing out his good performances with his poor performances, and weighing in the limited expectations, Roofe had a good year, but still well off the pace of being great.