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.
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.
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.
“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.”