Beale: I see Roofe and Lawrence as starters not back-up for Rangers

The attacking pair are ready to play after long injury lay-offs.

Michael Beale: I see Kemar Roofe and Tom Lawrence as starters not back-up for Rangers SNS Group

Rangers manager Michael Beale says fit-again attackers Kemar Roofe and Tom Lawrence have a major part to play this season – and won’t be back-up for his summer signings.

The pair have seen their time at Ibrox disrupted by injuries, with Lawrence suffering a knee injury shortly after arriving from Derby County last summer and now back after 11 months on the sidelines.

Roofe has signed 36 goals for Rangers since joining from Anderlecht in 2020 but a string of injuries have prevented him from nailing down a regular starting place.

With Beale overseeing a summer revamp of the squad that has seen attackers Danilo, Cyriel Dessers, Abdallah Sima and Sam Lammers added to the options at the top end of the team, some would have thought Roofe and Lawrence may have slipped down the pecking order but Beale insists that’s far from the case.

The manager is preparing his side for a huge week, which begins with a trip to Ross County for the Saturday lunchtime Premiership fixture before a trip to Eindhoven to play PSV in the Champions League and then the first derby against Celtic next weekend.

Asked if he was close to knowing his preferred starting side, Beale pointed out the demands of playing domestic and European fixtures in a busy schedule and said that Roofe and Lawrence were in contention, and he didn’t view them as reserves or substitutes.

“Tom and Kemar are really in my thoughts for that,” he said.

“Not having them since I have been here has been a big frustration for me. Those two are in my thoughts as starters, not as back-up players.

“Every team needs three number nines and at the moment we have Cyril Desserts, Danilo and Kemar.

“We have other people who can play there. Abdallah Siam’s strongest position is probably a number nine but he can play both sides. Sam Lammers has played there as well.

“Kemar has shown it in training, but we have to make a call. He will not be able to be involved in three games a week right now so the call is the domestic games at the weekend that he is involved in and we will deal with Europe depending on what competition we are in and we will pick a squad then.

“Tom has obviously been out for 11 months, he has had a couple of behind-closed-doors training games.

“He played in the B team this week and he is ready to be involved. He is not ready to play 90 minutes right now but by the time we come back from the international break, Tom is ready to go as well. What a boost that is going to be to everybody.”

The increased competition has already frustrated one player, with Ianis Hagi revealing his unhappiness at not being guaranteed a regular place in the starting line-up. The Rangers boss revealed last week that Hagi and his agent had options to look at regarding a move away, and on Friday he gave an update on Glen Kamara’s future, saying the Finnish midfielder could exit the club in the coming days.

“Glen is the one who is closest,” Beale said. “We had an honest conversation when I came back into the club about his future. There has been no fall-out.

“We were expecting Glen to move this summer. It was his wish as well. I wasn’t in the mood to persuade anyone to play for Rangers.

“It has to be the right club and valuation. He has been an excellent signing, but I want different here.

“There has been a lot of hot air around Ianis in the last week or so. It was a logical conversation. He has missed a year of football and we are very loaded in the positions he plays and he wants to know if is a main starter.

“We will see. It’s got to be right for Ianis and I am not dismissing Ianis being an important player either.”

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