QPR defender can’t keep pace with Kyle
BRADLEY Orr admits he has struggled to fill the shoes of Kyle Walker after the full-back’s exceptional loan performances for QPR this season.
Orr reclaimed his place in the Rangers team just before Christmas when Walker – an ever-present during his three months at Loftus Road – was switched to left-back to cover for injuries.
The Tottenham youngster is now on loan to Aston Villa, earning a call-up to the full England squad last week – and Orr acknowledges it has been difficult to live up to the legacy of Walker’s stay with the Rs.
“Kyle’s performances rightly kept him in the team,” Orr recalled. “It was just a matter of being as professional as possible and being ready when you were called on.
“There are things Kyle Walker does that I’ll never be able to do. I can’t emulate what Kyle does as far as knocking it down the outside of the left-back and using his blistering pace – I haven’t got that sort of pace.
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“He’s a phenomenon, really, and it shows with him getting selected for the England squad. I think he’s one of, if not the best, right-backs in the country.
“I suppose I just had to think about doing what I was good at –.my own set of qualities that had got me here in the first place and using them to do my best for the team. I’m delighted to be playing now.”
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The 28-year-old summer signing from Bristol City was a regular in the Rangers side during their triumphant start to the season, but then picked up a calf injury against Middlesbrough at the end of August.
That, coupled with Peter Ramage’s cruciate ligament injury in the same match, prompted the arrival of Walker, and Orr featured only once in the next 10 weeks, when he was sent off against Reading.
But the Liverpudlian has started every one of QPR’s last seven games and, despite the recent arrival of full-back Pascal Chimbonda on a free transfer from Blackburn, is hopeful of retaining his place for Saturday’s trip to Preston.
Phil Brown’s team are propping up the rest of the Championship, but Orr feels Rangers should approach Saturday’s game in exactly the same way as they did last weekend’s clash with promotion rivals Nottingham Forest.
“One thing about the manager is that the mentality going into every game this season has been the same,” Orr added.
“We’ve got the philosophy of going to win it and that won’t change.
“Even though Preston are down at the bottom, they’re still capable of getting wins and we’ve got to go into the game mentally and physically right, looking for the victory.
“It’s a pleasure to be involved with this sort of pressure – we’re where everyone wants to be and there’s much more pressure down at the bottom of the table, where you’re fighting for wins to stay in the league.”