Ruthless QPR boss has shown he is not a man to mess with

QPR manager Mark Warburton

QPR completed a busy transfer window with the signing of Watford striker Andre Gray, but it was the relatively low-key exits of other players that give a greater insight into the clout Mark Warburton possesses.

Gray arrived in W12 following a disappointing stint at Vicarage Road, where he was once Watford’s record £17m signing, from Burnley, who acquired him from Brentford where he had starred during Warburton’s final year at the club.

The Rangers boss has consistently signed players he knows from his previous clubs since his arrival in May 2019.

However, it would be remiss to think the training ground at Harlington resembles a cosy old pals’ act.

Warburton has proved he has a strong ruthless streak underneath a respectful demeanour.

This was perfectly demonstrated by his decision to literally and metaphorically send Todd Kane to Coventry.

Todd pays the price

Kane had been overlooked since the manager became aware of an interview in which the former Chelsea trainee made disparaging remarks about Osman Kakay – his rival for the right-back spot at the time.

Warburton, for whom respect is of paramount importance, banished him to the Under-23s, gave Kakay his squad number and then offloaded him to the Sky Blues.

QPR: Todd Kane
Kane was told he would not play for QPR again

As well as being ruthless when necessary, Warburton has shown he is also pragmatic.

Lee Wallace, Dom Ball and Liam Kelly, who were his first three signings, were very much his men.

But none were instant inclusions in his team after Ryan Manning, Geoff Cameron and Joe Lumley impressed in pre-season.

And after Lumley and Kelly had shared the shirt, the return of Seny Dieng from a successful loan spell at Doncaster saw him leapfrog them both after two matches last season to go from number three keeper to the undoubted number one.

Despite enjoying an excellent 2019/20 campaign, Manning was frozen out at the start of last season after refusing to sign a new contract, then shipped off to Swansea.

Lumley suffered a similar fate in the second half of last season before completing a move to Middlesbrough.

Kane’s replacement, Moses Odubajo, recently told West London Sport that Warburton was the most approachable manager he has played under – while stressing the R’s boss is not a man to get on the wrong side of.

Kane certainly found that to be the case.

QPR youngsters get all-important loan moves

Warburton has cultivated a reputation for giving youngsters an opportunity. But this should not be confused with a desire to take a chance on inexperienced players.

He is of the belief that playing in the pressure-cooker environment of lower-league football, alongside team-mates and against opponents playing to pay the mortgage, can be crucial for their development.

Ebere Eze, Ilias Chair and Dieng all benefited massively from loan spells and it is hoped Charlie Kelman, who signed for League One Gillingham until the end of the season, will benefit in a similar way.

QPR defender Conor Masterson
Warburton was keen to get Masterson out on loan

Conor Masterson has also been farmed out to Cambridge in the same division and has performed well in his three games since arriving at the Abbey Stadium.

Those seem like good – and certainly very important – loan moves for two young players Rangers have high hopes for.

Meanwhile, midfielder Faysal Bettache is playing under former QPR coach Keith Curle at Oldham.

There was a good loan move too for Amrit Bansal-McNulty, a player whose progress appeared to have stalled after an unsuccessful spell at Italian side Como.

He joined Crawley Town where he will work under the no-nonsense manager John Yems in the coal face that is League Two.