By Mike Slater

18th Feb, 2021 | 12:00pm

Franky Vercauteren lauds Kemar Roofe ahead of Royal Antwerp clash v Rangers

Royal Antwerp boss Franky Vercauteren has praised Rangers forward Kemar Roofe ahead of the Europa League clash on Thursday.

The pair worked together at Anderlecht, and Vercauteren insisted that he wouldn’t be calling the forward before the Round of 32 ties.

Roofe is back available for the Bears, despite having one more game to serve on his domestic ban against Dundee United this weekend.

Speaking to the Athletic ahead of the game, Vercauteren claimed that he would not try to influence Roofe before the clash this evening.

“Some players don’t care and just do what they’re told but with Kemar, we would communicate how we saw it and ask him what his interpretation was and work from there,” he said.

“I was following the game. I was very happy for him as it’s one of those goals that will always stick in the mind and be used as an example.

“No, no. I’ll not try to influence him but I’ll be happy to see him and we will see who makes the best out of the game.”

Steven Gerrard has a huge decision to make.

Cedric Itten has started the past two games, but Alfredo Morelos and Roofe have both been banned and are now available in this competition.

With El Bufalo having served his time for that stamp on Ryan Porteous, he could be given the nod to improve his European record ahead of his likely appearance against Dundee.

Roofe wasn’t at his best after returning from his injury in the past month, and it is unlikely that he will be given a massive role in Belgium this evening.

The striker could be used as a super-sub and Vercauteren knows better than most what he could do to Antwerp this evening.

In other Rangers news, Durrant and Ferguson predict the result of Royal Antwerp clash