Moses Odubajo is determined to make up for lost time and get his career back on track after signing a permanent deal with QPR.
The 28-year-old agreed to an initial 12-month contract with view to a second year after proving his fitness and impressing during a month-long trial.
Odubajo will make his full Rangers debut at right wing-back against Millwall on Saturday following eye-catching pre-season displays against Manchester United and Leicester.
His arrival in W12 reunites him with Mark Warburton, who once paid a then Brentford club-record fee to sign him from Leyton Orient in 2014 before Steve Bruce shelled out £3.5m to take him to Hull City a year later.
Odubajo was a key man in that Tigers promotion-winning side, playing 53 times and featuring in an impressive defensive unit that also contained Harry Maguire and Andy Robertson.
But Hull’s play-off final victory over Sheffield Wednesday proved to be his last game for the club.
He suffered a serious knee injury during a pre-season friendly with Grimsby in 2016.
After two years of not being able to play and seeing nothing more than the inside of a gym at the club training ground, Odubajo jumped at the chance to return to London and Brentford when his Hull contract expired.
Despite playing 35 times for the Bees in 2018/19, he was released at the end of that season, prompting Bruce to re-sign him at Sheffield Wednesday.
But his time at Hillsborough proved to be a frustrating one, with Bruce being one of four permanent managers to pass through the doors in two years before the club, hampered by a six-point deduction by the Football League due to profit and sustainability infringements, were relegated last season.
Odubajo’s injury woes resurfaced last February when he suffered a serious hamstring problem that ruled him out for the rest of the campaign and he admitted his career was very much at a crossroads before QPR first made contact with him in May.
“The club reached out to me but I was rehabbing my hamstring and we weren’t too sure how far away I would be to start pre-season so we had to just wait,” he said.
“I was then offered a six-week trial, which is what I have to accept as the questions about my injuries are always going to be there and it is a business at the end of the day.
“But it’s always nice to be recalled by a manager you know well and also reassuring to know that someone still sees something in you.
“The goal for me has been to get a really good pre-season under my belt and show that I can be robust and the player I know I can be, and so far it’s so good.”
Coming through tough times
Odubajo has experienced his fair share of difficulties in his life, losing his mother when he was 13 to malaria contracted during a work assignment in Ghana, then not being able to fulfill his ambition of playing a single minute in the Premier League after playing such a key role in Hull’s promotion.
He admitted to experiencing some dark times during that period of inaction with the Tigers and considered walking away from football.
“There was a time a few years ago where I re-fractured my kneecap and it got to a point where things were not adding up and I was listening to all the advice I could get from the physios but nothing was happening,” he said.
“But you have to go through those dark places to enjoy the bright moments.”
Despite last year’s difficulties at Wednesday, Odubajo is confident he can return to the player that looked set for a such a promising future five years ago.
“At the moment I feel really good,” he said.
“I am confident in myself, confident in my ability, I know what is at stake and I know I can get there.
“I am playing with a smile on my face for the first time in three years and I am part of a team that is exciting and playing football in an attractive manner. I can’t wait to get started.”