Rangers will be looking to continue their journey in the Europa League when they take on Slavia Prague at Ibrox on Thursday, with Steven Gerrard’s side in a strong position after coming away with a 1-1 draw in the away leg last week.
One way in which Rangers could get the edge over their Czech opponents is by unleashing Kemar Roofe at Ibrox, with the former Leeds United man having made his return from injury in the reverse fixture.
The Jamaican forward has impressed since signing from Anderlecht in the summer, having contributed 12 goals and two assists in 26 appearances for Gerrard’s side.
In the Premiership, he has averaged an impressive 7.13 rating for his performances, which sees him rated as the eighth-best performer in the league for Rangers so far this season, so it is certainly a big boost for Gerrard that he is now back from injury.
After he made his return against Slavia last week, the former Liverpool man said:
“It’s great to have Kemar back and a cameo will do him the world of good.”
Hopefully, the return to action, plus another week of training, will give Roofe the fitness he needs to make a big impact in the game at Ibrox on Thursday, as he could be the difference-maker.
We have already seen Roofe score twice in the Europa League this season, once against Benfica and once in the 2-0 win against Standard Liege with an unforgettable goal from the halfway line.
Gerrard was clearly wowed by that strike, as he said after the game:
“I think it was a moment of genius. I’ve been lucky enough to watch it five or six times since the end of the game and it’s the actual build-up and preparation before the strike.”
Although Roofe will do well to recreate a similar goal to that in training, let alone in a competitive game, it emphasised what he is capable of and the quality that he possesses and a moment of magic like that could well be the difference between Rangers progressing or exiting the Europa League on Thursday night.
Therefore, Gerrard should give the £5.4 million-rated forward a chance to impress from the start and hope that he can have another moment of genius on Thursday night.