Les Ferdinand: Letting Cole Kpekawa leave QPR was the right decision
PUBLISHED: 06:00 07 September 2016
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QPR’s director of football Les Ferdinand has admitted he didn’t believe Cole Kpekawa would go on to realise his full potential at QPR, and thus believed it was in the best interests of both parties that he left the club on deadline day.
Ferdinand, as well as manager Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink, are fond admirers of Kpekawa, but opted to let the talented youngster join Championship rivals Barnsley in a £450,000 deal last week, after failing to see sufficient progress from him in pre-season to demonstrate that he could battle for a first-team place moving forward.
Kpekawa - who spent 13 years at Loftus Road – told the Times in May that he was optimistic of his chances of breaking into the Rs first team, with the 20-year-old firmly in Hasselbaink’s thinking at the end of last season.
However, it soon became clear he had no long-term future with the Rs after a stop-start summer, and while Ferdinand was sad to see the former Leyton Orient and Colchester United loanee depart W12, he knows it was for the best.
He told the Times: “It was a difficult one as you don’t want to lose talented youngster and Cole is a talent.
“He’s been at the club for a long time and sometimes the environment can become too comfortable for you and you don’t push on as an individual.
“As much as we tried, I’ve spoken to Cole more than any other player since I’ve been here and the manager is the same, he wasn’t getting to the levels we needed him to get to.
“He was with us all the way through pre-season but he just couldn’t get to where we needed him to be at, so that’s a shame.”
Ferdinand alluded to a similar experience from his playing days when he struggled to settle in initially at Rangers after signing from Hayes, before a loan spell at Besiktas reignited his career - and he hopes the same can happen for Kpekawa up north.
He added: “When I joined this club as a player, I had to go away for a year to find myself as a footballer.
“When I first came here I was still very much involved in the environment I was in - it was too comfortable.
“It wasn’t until I went to Turkey and was on my own with football to concentrate on that I started to make progress.”
Ferdinand continued: “It was the making of me as a footballer.
“We didn’t want to lose Cole but in the interests of the club, and Cole himself as a footballer, we felt it was the right decision.
“I sincerely hope that he does come back and prove to be the player that we think he can be.
“We’ve done well in terms of what we’ve got for him and we’ve got a big sell-on.
“I hope that he goes on and has a good career for himself, because he’s certainly got the ability. It’s just I didn’t think he was going to have it here at QPR.”