Leeds United striker Kemar Roofe impressed by Marcelo Bielsa’s all-round influence

Leeds United players modelling the new kit at Elland Road yesterday. From left to right: Ronaldo Vieira, Luke Ayling, Jamal Blackman, Kemar Roofe and Gjanni Alioski.
Leeds United players modelling the new kit at Elland Road yesterday. From left to right: Ronaldo Vieira, Luke Ayling, Jamal Blackman, Kemar Roofe and Gjanni Alioski.
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LEEDS UNITED’S Kemar Roofe has hailed the influence of Marcelo Bielsa, revealing the new Whites head coach is conducting lessons in life as well as football.

Bielsa is six weeks into his new role with the former Argentina boss set to oversee his final pre-season friendly tomorrow afternoon when the Whites take on Spanish Segunda Division outfit Las Palmas at Elland Road.

United will then begin their new Championship campaign with a home clash against title favourites Stoke City the following Sunday and Roofe has given a glowing assessment of Bielsa’s six weeks in charge.

The forward readily admits that the Argentinian has lived up to his billing of providing a hard pre-season, but the Whites player has also revealed there has been more to Bielsa than just football.

“It’s been very tough,” admitted Roofe, assessing this summer’s pre-season. “But good at the same time. He hasn’t just run us into the ground with people complaining, it’s the total opposite.

“It’s well thought out and there’s a reason behind everything and we are learning every day.”

He hasn’t just run us into the ground with people complaining, it’s the total opposite. It’s well thought out and there’s a reason behind everything and we are learning every day.

Kemar Roofe

Asked to provide an idea of the issues Bielsa had been working on, Roofe revealed: “Everything, on and off the pitch. You would be surprised at what we have been doing.

“We’d think we’d be going into a meeting about football and it could be about something nothing to do with football, just as a life lesson. He obviously wants good players but he wants us to be good people as well.

“Obviously he wants us to reflect him and he has come across as that kind of person as well. And it just breeds a better team as well.”

Roofe again filled various positions during what his second full season at Leeds last term with the former Oxford United player used as a lone striker, a winger and a no 10.

The 25-year-old eventually proved United’s leading scorer last season with 14 goals – four more than Pierre-Michel Lasogga who has now returned to parent club Hamburg.

Leeds remain on the hunt for a new no 9 with the squad number left vacant with the Whites having been pursuing Derby County striker Matej Vydra as their main target this summer.

Roofe, though, says it does not matter to him whether or not he is first choice striker.

“It’s just like any other season,” said Roofe. “I am going to play for Leeds United and give 100 per cent to help the team to win.

“I am always excited. Even if I start elsewhere I’d still be excited – as long as I am playing and helping the team to win.”

Looking ahead to Sunday’s friendly against Las Palmas and the season opener against Stoke, Roofe said: “I’m very excited, especially to get back at Elland Road and in front of the fans as well.

“It will be a good test on Sunday and then it will lead us into the Stoke game as well especially on TV. I think everyone is excited.”