Exclusive: Rs midfielder on Faurlin, Premier League survival and the ‘new QPR’.
Veteran Derry hails his team-mate and believes Rangers can now attract a different calibre of player
Shaun Derry believes the midfield partnership he struck up with Alejandro Faurlin last season is going from strength to strength in the Premier League, and says the Argentinian will soon be a ‘complete player.’
Derry and Faurlin formed an effective understanding to help guide Rangers to promotion from the Championship last season, and they have started the new campaign in a similar vein, helping Neil Warnock’s side keep three clean sheets from their first five matches.
While new signings such as Joey Barton and Shaun Wright-Phillips have drawn most of the plaudits in QPR’S bright start to life under new owner Tony Fernandes, Warnock has also singled out Derry, Faurlin and keeper Paddy Kenny as three key players in the side.
And Derry, who was handed a one-year contract extension earlier this summer, says Faurlin has all the right attributes to become one of the best midfielders in the country.
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“In all the years I’ve been playing I’ve not played with a guy like Ali,” Derry told the Times. “He’s young, he appreciates his job and he’s a pleasure to play with.
“He brings instant balance to the side; he’s got a wonderful left foot, I think it’s imperative that you have a left-footed player in central midfield.
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“He’s got a great eye for a pass and he brings creativity to the side. I think we saw in the last part of last season and early this year that he’s on his way to becoming the complete midfielder.
“Me and Ali have a great partnership: he’s creative and I’m destructive. Throw in guys like Shaun Wright-Phillips and Joey Barton, while Tommy Smith is also a great outlet, and we have options there for passes.
“We needed decent players of a Premier League level, but we can’t forget the guys that got us here, who all want to establish themselves in the team.”
Derry also insisted that the side which was promoted last season could have survived in the Premier League this campaign without any summer signings, although he concedes the wealth of new faces have given everyone a huge lift, and have enabled the club to attract a different calibre of player.
But he also warned against unrealistic expectations, stating that, even if QPR defeat Aston Villa on Sunday afternoon, the prime target this season will still be to avoid relegation, with anything else a bonus.
“I call it the ‘new QPR’, it’s been a massive boost seeing the sort of players who have come through the door, and the sort of players we can attract to the club,” added Derry.
“When you go through that transition from being a Championship club to a Premier League club, it’s often hard to attract top players, but we’ve done that. The likes of Joey Barton, Luke Young and Shaun Wright-Phillips are all top English players.
“It has a knock-on effect for the fans as well, there’s a feel-good factor to the club, we’ve moved on to a different level. I still think that the club that got promoted last season could have survived, 100 per cent. If you look at the likes of Swansea and Norwich, I think we were as strong if not stronger.
“But we’re in the same bracket as them, fighting for survival If we beat Aston Villa on Sunday, that’ll be seven points from nine, the expectation levels will rise and the pressure will be even more.
“People will be expecting us to really push on up the league.”
Follow Ian Cooper on Twitter @QPRTimes