EXCLUSIVE: QPR legend Wilkins says Taarabt must lose selfish streak
Former England international says midfielder must do some of the ‘donkey work’
QPR legend Ray Wilkins believes Adel Taarabt must lose his selfish streak and become more of a team player in order to help the club survive in the Premier League next season.
Moroccan midfielder Taarabt now seems certain to stay at Loftus Road after his move to Paris St Germain was blocked by QPR owners Flavio Briatore and Bernie Ecclestone on Saturday.
The 2010/11 Football League Player of the Year scored 19 goals and made 16 assists to help Rangers back into the Premier League after a 15-year absence, but the 22-year-old’s petulant attitude also drew plenty of criticism.
And Wilkins, who made 155 appearances in the Hoops midfield between 1989 and 1994 before returning for a two-year spell as manager, believes that while Taarabt can light up the Premier League this season, he must be ready to muck in at the back.
“Adel is a very talented young man, he’s got an abundance of ability. He can unlock doors and, coupled with that, he can score goals,” said Wilkins.
“But in the Premier League you have to defend with 11 men, and he has to be prepared to put in some of the donkey work with the rest of the lads.
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“In the Championship you can get away with certain things, but in the Premier League it’s a different story, and if you try to defend with 10 players you’re going to have a problem, so he needs to work hard on that side of his game.”
As Neil Warnock made Wales international centre-back Danny Gabbidon his third signing of the summer this week, Wilkins claimed that Rangers’ survival chances will rest heavily on their ability to defend – and the 54-year-old believes Warnock must continue to add players with top-flight experience.
“I don’t necessarily worry about the defence – you defend collectively as a group of 11 – but I think they need a couple more experienced players in the mould of Danny Gabbidon,” added Wilkins. “He knows the Premier League like the back of his hand and will be an important player.
“What you find is that when a team is promoted the players up their game by 10 per cent anyway, but the squad needs boosting. Neil Warnock is working hard to find the right guys and I’m sure he will – he’s one of the most successful Championship managers there has been.”
Follow Ian Cooper on Twitter @QPRTimes