Leeds United hat-trick hero Kemar Roofe won’t demand first-choice striker role

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KEMAR ROOFE took home his second match ball of the season but insisted he would not demand the role of first-choice striker at Leeds United after a 3-1 win over Queens Park Rangers.

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Roofe produced a clinical hat-trick to hand Leeds a third victory in five games at Loftus Road and follow up his treble in a League Cup defeat of Newport County in August.

The forward struck three times in the final half-hour yesterday as United’s class told towards the end of a scrappy game and his performance made the most of an unintended tactical switch by head coach Thomas Christiansen.

Roofe moved from the left wing to a role up front after Caleb Ekuban was injured seven minutes before half-time.

Leeds had made little impression on QPR’s defence but Roofe picked off Ian Holloway’s side impressively by converting crosses from Gjanni Alioski and Pawel Cibicki and driving home a third goal deep into injury-time.

The former Oxford United player, who scored 26 times for Oxford during the 2015-16 term, has been in and out of United’s side this season and restricted to limited chances in his preferred position by Ekuban and Pierre-Michel Lasogga.

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His hat-trick established him as United’s top scorer in the Championship but asked if he would be knocking on Christiansen’s door, Roofe said: “It doesn’t work like that. I just keep my head down and keep working.

Kemar Roofe celebrates his second goal with his team-mates.

Kemar Roofe celebrates his second goal with his team-mates.

“Hopefully I’ve shown people that that’s my preferred position but obviously wherever I get put I’m going to give 100 per cent.

“It’s another hat-trick ball for my mantelpiece at home to look at every day but the main thing is the three points. I was happy with the one goal as long as we got the points.”

Roofe opened the scoring with a 63rd-minute header before converting a cross from substitute Cibicki fives minutes later.

United’s victory, which leaves the club four points behind the Championship’s play-off places, was briefly placed in doubt in stoppage-time after a bad error from goalkeeper Felix Wiedwald allowed QPR’s Pawel Wszolek to score but another Roofe goal on the counter-attack killed the game in the fifth added minute.

Hopefully I’ve shown people that that’s my preferred position but obviously wherever I get put I’m going to give 100 per cent.

Leeds United’s Kemar Roofe

Christiansen refused to criticise Wiedwald, who lost his place United’s line-up earlier in the season after a series of poor performances, and Roofe said: “It’s good entertainment!

“It was a mistake and he didn’t mean to do it. We’re in it as a team and we still won the game.”

Roofe admitted his first goal – a hanging header from Alioski’s centre – had been the most satisfying, saying: “Not many people think I can head the ball. I can always do better but I showed I can do it. My goals were from very good build-up. I just had to be in the right place at the right time and execute the finish.

“It was a very good away performance. We had a game plan, we executed it and we got the result.”

Kemar Roofe celebrates his hat-trick with Pawel Cibicki.

Kemar Roofe celebrates his hat-trick with Pawel Cibicki.

Pontus Jansson celebrates at full time.

Pontus Jansson celebrates at full time.

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