BY YANN TEAR
Todd Kane has a tale of what might have been – but says he is in just the right place to forget about hard luck stories from his past.
The QPR defender suffered the cruellest of blows to his career three years ago when he was on loan to Dutch side NEC Nijmegen.
He had just been told by then Chelsea boss Antonio Conte that he would feature in the Blues’ plans for the following season when he picked up an anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injury which was to sideline him for a season.
But the 26-year-old, signed on a free in July, says he has no need to dwell on the fate which prevented him from cracking it with the Premier League club, because he believes Rangers are the perfect fit for him.
“It’s not just because it’s a club from my part of the world, but also because the style suits me,” Kane told the London Weekly News. “I feel I can progress well here and go to the next level.
“I was very patient before deciding on Rangers. After several years of moving around I wanted a new club where I could settle, but I wanted it to be the right club.
“I felt I didn’t want to rush a move and and make it the wrong one. I wanted to make sure that I can be somewhere that suits me for the next three or four years and I feel this is right for me.”
Kane continued: “At Chelsea, I was just about to break through when I did my ACL.
“Not long before then, Conte told me I’d be involved because of my style of play, which suited the 3-5-2 formation he liked. I can play right wing-back or right full-back so he was positive about my future.
I had a good season in Holland, with [ex-technical director] Michael Emanalo coming to see me. They were really happy with me and then I had that injury in the last game of the season.
“After that, I had an operation on my knee and then rehab, missed the following season and that was that. I had to start again.”
Kane had another spell in Holland and spent last season with Hull City, but the Chelsea ship had sailed and he is desperate to make the most of QPR’s belief in him – and confident that he will.
“Everything’s going very well at the moment,” he said. “Since the start of the season and from the very moment I arrived, we’ve gone into every game believing we can win every game.
“And I still feel we’ve got much more to give.
“It feels like we haven’t been tested or outplayed. Even the defeat against Swansea didn’t reflect how well we played.
“It’s true that we haven’t kept a clean sheet yet, but as long as we keep winning, that’s the main thing.
At Millwall last Saturday, we gave away a scrappy goal but our keeper didn’t really have a save to make.
We are improving. “Everyone has bought into the manager’s style. He wants us to express ourselves. Everyone is confident on the ball, including the keepers. We keep the ball well and our style is getting results.
“We have the right players here and we’ve got great strikers. There’s a good buzz.”
Boss Mark Warburton will be hoping that good buzz continues after the Saturday lunchtime kick-off against West Brom in W12, and Wednesday’s trip to Cardiff City.
Albion are fourth and unbeaten so far, having recently drawn just down the road at Fulham.
The Rs could be up against three former players, with Darnell Furlong, Charlie Austin and Matt Phillips in the opposition ranks.
Phillips scored twice when Albion thrashed Rangers 7-1 at the Hawthorns last season and the Baggies won 3-2 in the return fixture. But that does not worry Kane.
“We have a totally different team now, so you can’t read anything into that,” he said.
“What we do know is that West Brom are a massive club with big wages and players who have played in the Premier League.
We are probably the underdogs for this one, but we know what we have to do. We are all enjoying our football and looking forward to this next test.”