Mark Warburton has insisted that Todd Kane was absent from the QPR squad against Nottingham Forest only because he was ill.
Kane has been left out since manager Warburton became aware of an interview with ‘R’ Generation in which the right-back spoke about competing for a place with Osman Kakay.
The Chelsea academy product was dropped from the side against Reading and Coventry and was not in the squad for Monday’s defeat at the City Ground.
But Warburton said: “Todd had a stomach upset and didn’t travel to Nottingham.
“He came back in and trained this week. It (Kane’s absence) was nothing more than the illness of a player.”
In the interview, Kane said he regards himself as a better player than Kakay, who has kept him out of the team for parts of this season.
Kane, 27, also suggested that Sheffield United had previously wanted to sign him for £13m and pointed out that at the time Kakay was playing on loan in the Scottish second tier.
Asked about his response to Kane’s comments, Warbuton explained: “I’m very aware of what was said. But what we speak about as a squad stays private. We’ll never disclose that.
“For me personally, amongst the squad and amongst the staff, respect is paramount.
“We’re in a very competitive business but it’s important to me that we all speak with respect.
“Speak our minds; speak openly and honestly, but in a respectful way. That’s how I’ve always approached any job I’ve been in.”
And Warburton paid tribute to Kakay, who spent time on loan at Livingston and Partick north of the border and also had a loan spell at Chesterfield prior to establishing himself in the QPR side.
The 23-year-old is a product of Rangers’ academy and has made 41 first-team appearances for the club, with 22 of them coming this season.
Referring to Kakay’s stints in the Scottish Championship, Warburton said: “He had to play games. You can go higher on loan and not play.
“You can say ‘I’ve been to so-and-so club and been on the bench’. Well, why have you gone there? You should go to play, learn and develop.
“Ossie had no hesitation to go and play on loan. It was very beneficial, all parties benefited and he came back.
“He trains hard every day. He comes in, does his job, always gives you 100% and when called upon he’s been outstanding for us.
“I have enormous respect for Osman Kakay and how he conducts himself on and off the pitch.”
Meanwhile, Warburton expects Jordy de Wijs to return to the QPR squad for this weekend’s game against Sheffield Wednesday.