Beat around the Bush: why QPR fans must remain patient with Phillips
- Credit: PA Wire/Press Association Images
Rangers blogger Sean Gallagher believes summer signing Phillips will only improve after an unspectacular start to life at Loftus Road
Things couldn’t have gone much better for QPR so far this season as they sit three points clear at the top of the Championship, and remain unbeaten after their narrow 1-0 win over Yeovil on Saturday.
Harry Redknapp deserves an enormous amount of credit for completely rebuilding the QPR team with reliable and honest characters who will give their all for the team, after last year’s shambles.
To add to that he has brought in some exciting attacking players like Niko Kranjcar and Matty Phillips – with the latter’s signing a real statement of intent.
When it was announced Rangers had signed Phillips from Blackpool last month I thought it was too good to be true. QPR have been crying out for an out-an-out winger for years, the last in my time being Trevor Sinclair, and in Phillips they now have that.
I had watched Phillips on various occasions for Blackpool two years ago in the Premier League and was mightily impressed with what I saw from him.
So my initial thoughts were that it was a masterstroke from Redknapp bringing him to the club – and I still think that.
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He came to the club nursing a broken arm he sustained in training in July, and has just recently recovered from this injury, so this is the reason we have so far seen a player a shadow of his normal self when fully match-fit.
His pre-season schedule was severely hampered, so he is behind the rest of the squad in terms of match fitness and sharpness. This is why we have seen a player of undisputed quality, looking well short of his best in the early parts of his Rangers career.
He made his debut against Birmingham just over a week ago, replacing Junior Hoilett midway through the first half, and after watching that game - and the two games he has been involved in since - I think he may well have been rushed back from injury.
After speaking to the 22-year-old just last week he came across as an honest and humble character keen to do well and help the R’s get promoted – the ‘right sort’.
He has admitted that it will take him a couple of games to get up to scratch and after this he will be firing on all cylinders.
This is why I believe Harry Redknapp would do well to feature Phillips in a couple of EDS games before he goes back into the first-team again.
This could build his confidence up and most importantly his fitness and sharpness for the gruelling Championship season Rangers have ahead of them.
It is important the QPR faithful back him throughout, as there was a sense of frustration from them on Saturday at Yeovil after a lethargic performance from the former Wycombe trainee.
Phillips squandered a golden opportunity to open his account for Rangers in the first half of that game, but it isn’t the end of the world, he will have numerous opportunities to get on the scoresheet this season - and he will score goals and assists aplenty.
That will be something on Phillips’ mind after just four goals in 36 appearances for Blackpool last season, but with the quality in the Rangers squad and his attacking qualities as a winger - his goal-scoring touch will come.
Rome wasn’t build in a day and it didn’t fall in a day either – Matty Phillips will be a star for QPR this season, I’ve never be surer of anything else.