Kemar Roofe has told the Daily Mail that he realised that Leeds United boss Marcelo Bielsa was something of a genius within two weeks of starting working with him last season.
The former Whites striker enjoyed his best Championship season following Bielsa’s appointment in 2018. He scored 15 goals in the league as Leeds agonisingly missed out on promotion. And it would have surely been a lot more had injury not played such a prominent role in his campaign.
His form attracted plenty of attention. The Mail reports that he joined Anderlecht for £7 million ahead of the final year of his contract at Elland Road.
And having now started to show his best form once again, Roofe explained what impact working with Bielsa has had on his career.
“He opened my eyes to a different way of thinking about football,” he told the Mail. “I’m grateful for having worked with him. He came in and changed so much, but within two weeks we all realised how simple it was. It’s the sign of a genius, really. You think — why didn’t I think of that?”
“You’re told you’ll get fatigue and you can only do a certain amount of kilometres during the week before a game, but he blew those theories out of the water,” he added.
“His style was to play quick, attacking, aggressive, front-foot, positive football — perfect for me — and I learned the body can do so much more than you believe.”
Roofe was one of the players who certainly looked transformed under the Leeds boss. His tally may have only improved by a handful of goals from the previous season, but there is no question that his game went to another level.
And there was plenty of important goals along the way. The 26-year-old bagged five winners throughout the campaign. It had been two the year before.
There have definitely been times this term where Leeds fans would have been forgiven for wishing he had not left. But Patrick Bamford now has seven goals to his name. And Eddie Nketiah has shown glimpses of brilliance since replacing the former Oxford United man in the summer.
Roofe’s departure may sting from time to time for some. But it does appear that nothing was more important over the summer than keeping Bielsa around.