Michael Beale said in his pre match press conference yesterday that he sees both Tom Lawrence and Kemar Roofe as starters, not back up players. These were his exact words;
Tom Lawrence and Kemar Roofe will travel. They will play some part in the game whether it is from the start or coming on, is a big boost for everyone.
They are really in my thoughts for being in my strongest XI and not having them for the period since I have been here has been a big frustration.
They are players who are in my thoughts as starters, not just back up players.Michael Beale on Tom Lawrence and Kemar Roofe
Let’s have a look at what both players are capable of adding to the current Rangers side.
The Welshmen had a great start to his Rangers career and quickly became a fan favourite before his terribly unfortunate injury. Lawrence scored a crucial goal at Ibrox against PSV and scored two goals and had an assist in 5 SPFL appearances.
He was looking like a top signing and exactly the player fans had hoped for. He was aggressive in getting the ball back and had great quality on the ball. Capable of playing as an 8, 10 or out on the left. His versatility will be a huge bonus for Rangers in the upcoming season.
He’s the type of player that will be willing to grab the game by the scruff of the neck. He always looks to get on the ball and tries to make things happen. He’s also one of the few players willing to have a go from distance. He averaged 3.5 shots per game in his 5 SPFL appearances, for comparison, Cantwell averaged 2.1 last season.
He’s a different option to what Rangers have had available recently. He’ll provide energy, tenacity and a real desire to get goals. He’ll run beyond the forwards but also shoot on sight.
I’m not quite sure where Michael Beale sees his best position. Maybe the manager isn’t sure himself yet. He played an hour for the B team a few days ago and scored a lovely goal. The type you’d expect from him, he gets the ball out of his feet and bends a great effort into the corner.
Where do you see Tom Lawrence fitting in within this Rangers team? Are you excited to see him come back?
Last season the Jamaican striker played three matches, scored one goal and averaged 14 minutes per appearance. His injury issues have really stifled how good his Rangers career could’ve been.
When he’s fit and able, his numbers are excellent but will he ever be reliable again? In the 21/22 season his numbers were;
- 21 Appearances (9 Starts)
- 101mins Per Goal
- 23% Goal Conversion Rate
And the season before;
- 24 Appearances (18 Starts)
- 112mins Per Goal
- 29% Goal Conversion Rate
The issue has never been his ability on the pitch. It’s been his ability to keep fit. He was excellent in his first season to help Rangers win title number 55.
If he was able to play 38 games a season there’s no doubt he would break the 20 goal mark. Which is something Rangers strikers have struggled to do for years now.
The reality is, he’s only in Scotland because of his injury issues. He’s a top quality player and without the injuries would’ve had a career in the EPL. It’s been hugely frustrating not having him available but he can definitely contribute when he’s fit.
Are you excited for the return of Kemar Roofe? Do you think he’ll displace any of the new signings from the starting line up?
I believe both Lawrence and Roofe can make big contributions this season. Rangers had a squad ravaged with injury last year and struggled with the amount of competitions.
That shouldn’t be an issue this season. There is cover everywhere and plenty of minutes to be shared between domestic and European games.
I would love to know, with everyone fit and on form, what Michael Beale considers his strongest 11. I’d struggle to pick one right now but it would be interesting to see what the manager has in mind for his ideal team.
How are you feeling about the return of Lawrence and Roofe? Excited? Do you think Lawrence will be the same player after 11 months on?
Do you think it’s just a matter of time before Roofe gets injured again? I sincerely hope not on the latter and hope Lawrence shows what he did at the beginning of last season.
Hopefully we get a chance to see both players in action today, it’s been a long time coming.
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ICYMI you can read my predicted line-up for todays match here.