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Roofe racks up the numbers and impresses Rangers staff with his fitness levels

Rangers v Benfica – UEFA Europa League – Group D – Ibrox Stadium
(Image credit: Andrew Milligan)

Steven Gerrard revealed striker Kemar Roofe is leading from the front as Rangers focus on fitness in their fight for success.

The Light Blues came from behind twice against Standard Liege at Ibrox on Thursday night to win 3-2 and qualify for the last 32 of the Europa League for the second year running, with a game to spare.

Gers boss Gerrard highlighted the influence of 27-year-old Roofe, who has scored seven times since signing on a four-year deal from Anderlecht in August.

The former Liverpool and England captain, who was named SPFL Premiership manager of the month for November, with captain James Tavernier named player of the month, said. “I think there is more to come in certain departments.

“One thing for sure, I have to pay credit to the fitness department and the sports science lads. The numbers that we are hitting right now are really impressive.

“I think Kemar Roofe certainly helps on that. He doesn’t stop, he is like a Duracell bunny.

“He is hitting numbers that you don’t really expect from a forward player, he is running more than the midfielders and running the most in the team at the moment.

“I think he is really setting the example in terms of what we need to put into a game to get the results we are getting.

“Everyone is hitting impressive numbers but Roofe has raised the bar with the last couple of performances he has put in.”

The Govan club are unbeaten in 24 games this season, with 20 wins and have an 11-point lead over Celtic at the top of the table albeit having played two games more.

Rangers won all three matches in the league last month, scoring 13 without conceding.

Right-back Tavernier scored four goals in the league, five in total, to help take his tally for the season to 15.

Ahead of the trip to Ross County on Sunday, Gerrard paid tribute to his skipper’s development as a leader and his backroom team.

He said: “He has shown fantastic leadership on and off the pitch at the moment, James.

“I think he is really growing into the role. He wants to improve as a player on a daily basis, which is the most important thing, but he is also aware that he wants to grow as a leader as well.

“I couldn’t be any more pleased for James in terms of his consistency and his goals and assists are always a bonus on top of the performances.

“He is certainly leading by example on and off the pitch.

“In terms of the award as a staff, it should really be called the management team award because everyone puts so much in, not just the management staff in terms of the coaches.

“Behind the scenes there are a lot of staff that push the team and do everything they can to take the excuses away from the team.

“But we wouldn’t get this award without the consistency of the players so they deserve the plaudits – and it is an award that is shared around the club.”

Tavernier, who won the award for the second time this season, said:

“I am delighted to receive it but there plenty of players in that dressing room that could easily pick this award up, they have been terrific.”