QPR defender Armand Traore will support old friend Adel Taarabt to keep focused on football whilst injured

QPR midfielder Adel Taarabt

QPR midfielder Adel Taarabt - Credit: PA Wire/Press Association Images

Armand Traore says he is there to support his friend Adel Taarabt who is struggling with an ankle injury.

Queens Park Rangers' Armand Traore (right) battles for possession

Queens Park Rangers' Armand Traore (right) battles for possession - Credit: PA Wire/Press Association Images

The talented Moroccan playmaker failed to secure a move back to AC Milan this summer and has told chairman Tony Fernandes that he wants to make an impact in the Premier League.

Manager Harry Redknapp admits he is concerned that whilst out injured Taarabt could put on some more weight, something Traore believes he needs to keep an eye on.

He said: “I don’t think that Adel eats that much if I’m honest. I just maybe think that sometimes he eats the wrong things – that’s possible.

“It is all about knowledge, in knowing what you can and what you can’t east.

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“I know for a fact that I can eat pretty much what I want. I can east McDonald’s every day and I will have a body fat really low still.

“In fact I am trying to bring my body fat high a little bit, because it is a bit too low.

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“He’s the type of guy that needs to looks a little bit, he can’t eat pasta everyday, he can’t eat rice everyday – he just needs to watch out for that.

“I think that he went on holiday and he ate a bit too much on holiday. He came back and hurt his ankle and didn’t manage to get pre season on board properly and he is playing catch up.

“This is what friends are here for; it is obviously a difficult time for him. I need to make sure as a friend that he keeps his head right – he doesn’t go out away from football, he needs to stay focused.

“I think he will be alright, he will be fine.”

Traore and Taarabt played alongside each other for France before switching their international allegiance to Senegal and Morocco. He is unsure if the 25-year-old will be given the same freedom to do what he wants in the top flight as he did when he starred in the Championship.

Traore added: “We played at Under-16 level for the French national team so I’ve known him since I was maybe 15.

“It is a bit difficult because he is the type of player that if he really focuses on football I don’t think he will be able to do what he wants.

“You want to see the talent that he has got. I wasn’t there but when he was at QPR that year, I heard that Neil Warnock was letting him do basically what he wants a little bit.

“Some players are different but I think if you focus totally on football at some point, it might not work for you at the start but eventually hard work pays off so he needs to just do that I guess.”

Traore started the season playing as a left wing back but with the system now switched from a 3-5-2 formation to a more traditional 4-4-2 he says he is now working hard to become the best left back he can.

He said: “I’m working with Glenn Hoddle. I don’t know if you saw but when [Mame Biram] Diouf made a run from deep and I followed him, I recovered the ball.

“This was Glenn. A few days ago he told me when the winger makes the run inside like this, if he makes the run from deep you can’t play him offside.

“He is giving me some advice like this and I think we are working on it. I’ve got Rio as well helping me because I’m really set on improving.

“There is no left back that I look at, Ashley Cole maybe.

“Nowadays even the best left backs in the world they are not that good defensively.

“But because they play in the best teams in the world they can afford not to be that good defensively because they’ve got world class centre halves but I can’t do that here because right now we are not a top three club in the Premier League.

“I need to improve defensively. I made a few mistakes but I think I’ve done some good things as well – this is what Glenn told me.

“Everyday I think I can improve.”

Traore is hopeful that he was overcome a tackle from Ryan Shawcross which left his ankle in pain to be fully fit for the trip to Southampton.

The 24-year-old spent a year on loan at south coast rivals Portsmouth in 2008 but doesn’t expect the Saints fans to remember him.

He said: I’ve changed a lot since I was 19. I was skinnier; I had the bald head and no beard.

“People have forgotten, it was five years ago. But you never know I might get some abuse.

“I didn’t get any at Tottenham and I played longer for Arsenal so I doubt I will get any abuse there.”

Follow me on Twitter @RobBrennan82

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