Having an 81-capped England centre-back banned for three games isn’t ideal for the league’s worst defence, but there is a school of thought that QPR will actually fair well without Rio Ferdinand’s services for the next few weeks.
That such a theory is coming out of the Hoops’ own dressing room is slightly off the wall, as the Daily Mirror report that some of Harry Redknapp’s squad are actually pleased that the suspension will keep Ferdinand out of the side.
Redknapp dropped his former West Ham prodigy to the bench for the 5/6 relegation candidates’ outing against Liverpool, resulting in an improved, if bittersweet, performance as two own-goals from centre-halves Richard Dunne and Steven Caulker sealed a 3-2 Reds win.
After such calamities, the temptation to throw the former Manchester United stalwart back into the fray against Aston Villa must have been hard to resist.
But that’s exactly what Redknapp did, and he was rewarded with a first win in five and a clean sheet to boot.
Ferdinand’s ban, for a social media transgression, rules him out of clashes with Chelsea, Manchester City and Newcastle, the first of which Rangers are a huge 16/1 to win, and will allow the Caulker-Dunne axis to develop further.
Although the pair contributed to the Liverpool loss with goals at the wrong end, they recovered admirably to shut out a toothless Aston Villa side.
Ferdinand’s partnership with his young countryman was thought to be of great benefit to Caulker’s progression, but there’s no reason that top-flight veteran Dunne can’t fulfil the same mentoring role.
Redknapp himself is now openly talking about Ferdinand’s life after playing, casting further doubts over the 36-year-old’s playing future:
“Rio Ferdinand was shouting and hollering on the bench the other night. He said, ‘My God, I have never been so nervous.’ I said, ‘Wait until you become a manager, Rio!”
It seems QPR will have to get used to being without the Londoner sooner, rather than later.
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