Leeds United reaction: Kemar Roofe plays himself into vacant central striker role for Thomas Christiansen

Kemar Roofe scored his third goal with an overhead kick
Kemar Roofe scored his third goal with an overhead kick
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Thomas Christiansen admits Kemar Roofe has put his hand up to be Chris Wood's long-term replacement after scoring a hat-trick in Leeds' 5-1 Carabao Cup victory over Newport.

Roofe endured a tough first season at Elland Road and had struggled for form in the early weeks of the new campaign.

Roofe is the second Leeds player to score a hat-trick in the Caraboa Cup this season

Roofe is the second Leeds player to score a hat-trick in the Caraboa Cup this season

But he was given the opportunity to play through the middle for the first time following Wood's move to Burnley and he took it emphatically to the delight of his head coach.

"We know the quality of Roofe," said Christiansen.

"He can play up front, he's done that before. We knew what he could give.

"In his first appearance as a striker, to score three goals is very good.

"He could be an option long term. If you see how he played up front today - he scored nice goals.

"We can still play the direct way, we can play with balls in the space and we can play into his feet. We have many possibilities if we should play with him."

Roofe crucially equalised on the stroke of half-time after Joss Labadie had given Newport a deserved lead and then scored again just after the restart to take the wind out of the League Two side's sails.

The former Oxford forward completed his hat-trick with a spectacular overhead kick before late goals from substitute Samuel Saiz and Ronaldo Vieira gave the scoreline a flattering look.

"I'm very satisfied with the result," said Christiansen.

"We changed the result from 0-1 to 5-1 and I'm pleased about that.

"We've reached our goal of going through to the next round."

Christiansen would relish the challenge of welcoming a Premier League side to a packed Elland Road in round three.

He added: "It would be nice to play a big team at home in front of our fans. They deserve it."