BY YANN TEAR
One of QPR’s former Premier League stars believes Rangers’ Tottenham connection has set them up for a potentially thrilling season.
Bradley Allen, who tormented opposing defences when he turned out for the Hoops between 1988 and 1995, remains a huge fan of his old club, even though he has worked as a youth team coach at Spurs in recent years.
And he is hugely encouraged by the start Rangers have made under Mark Warburton and believes the foundations are in place for stability and progress following last season’s worrying flirtation with relegation.
“I’ve not had the chance to see more than highlights on TV so far but it seems they have the ingredients to do really well this season,” Allen told the London Weekly News.
“Mark Warburton is a coach and a person I know well because he’s popped in at Spurs from time to time and is good friends with John McDermott, the head of the Spurs academy.
“Mark’s a great believer in what we do there and wants to do the same sort of thing at QPR to bring on young players.
“I think he has a belief in a certain style and way of playing which proved very successful in spells at Brentford and Glasgow Rangers, and it looks like QPR are in good hands.
“What Mark has done is look at the squad at his disposal and decided it needed freshening up – and the squad looks a lot healthier than before.
“He’s giving young players a chance but has also managed to blend in the right amount of experience and created a more positive approach in away games by the looks of it.
“He just needs to keep growing that belief and confidence to get the fans even more on side for home games.”
Allen knows what he is talking about, as a man from a rich footballing dynasty. He is the son of former Chelsea, Tottenham and QPR player and manager Les Allen.
His brother is former England international Clive Allen and he is the cousin of another famous former QPR player, Martin Allen.
So Rangers fans should take heart from his observations about the direction the team is taking.
“When Mark has his best 11 available, and I think he’s probably close to deciding what his best 11 is by now, QPR will give most teams in the division a good game,” Allen said.
“I think injuries and suspensions could leave his squad a bit short, but he has already proved he has good things to work with.
“Ilias Chair looks like a player with creativity and flair, and Mark has to keep encouraging him to express himself. Jordan Hugill scored both goals at Sheffield Wednesday and looks ideal.
“Rangers like to play out from the back but you need that physicality up front, which he provides. Sometimes you have to play a bit longer. He offers a presence and can hold the ball up well. At Preston he proved he could score goals at this level and he’s doing it again.
“QPR have had difficulty replacing Charlie Austin but Hugill looks like he can fill that void this season.
“Perhaps most importantly, though, Mark’s made one or two of the home-grown players look a bit more capable at Championship level. [Eberechi] Eze is a player who falls into that category.
He’s started to look more confident and that’s down to playing more games and learning how to cope with the demands.”
Allen added: “I’ve been lucky enough to be involved with the Spurs academy for the past 15 years and I can’t stress enough how important it is to help youngsters learn the fundamentals to help them realise their potential and in McDermott, Spurs have one of the best in the business.
“And it’s through that connection that Warburton was able to get Luke Amos on loan. He is doing really well after getting over a knee ligament injury and is another reason why I believe Rangers can surprise teams and have a good season.”
Two of those younger players in the Rangers ranks have been sent out on loan to try and further their progress, striker Aramide Oteh and right-back Osman Kakay.
Oteh has joined League Two Bradford City on a season-long loan. The 20-year-old spent time on loan with League One Walsall last season, scoring once in 13 appearances.
Kakay, 22, has gone to Scottish Championship side Partick Thistle until January. He has made 12 appearances for the Hoops.