Ferdinand determined to see QPR tap into Borough talent
PUBLISHED: 10:00 11 December 2015 | UPDATED: 13:34 11 December 2015
PA Wire/Press Association Images
EXCLUSIVE: QPR's director of football Les Ferdinand says the club are actively working with Brent Schools FA in the hope of cherry picking the best local talent in the area.
The last player to come through the club’s ranks and become a first-team regular was Richard Langley back in 1999 – something which Ferdinand wants to rectify as soon as possible.
He said: “We’re hoping to do that. We’re in a great catchment area.
“I was talking to someone recently and remember when I was a kid at school. Just around the corner you had Dennis Wise, George Lawrence and myself playing for Southampton. We were training there rather than QPR.
“We’ve gone that way again. There’s no real local lads from our community in our academy and we need to change that.
“For too long the focus here has solely been on first-team matters and not anything else, but that is changing now.
“We’re watching the Brent groups and getting them in to play against our under-12s, under-13s and under-14s and we’re playing their teams.
“The stand-out players then come and train with us, so we’re seeing if we can pick up players that way too.
“It doesn’t happen overnight though, it didn’t with Harry Kane and Andros Townsend at Spurs. I think we have an advantage because some of the boys like [Michael] Petrasso have already had a taste of the first team.”
Elsewhere, Ferdinand has heaped praise on the Rs’ new boss Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink – who he said was a stand-out candidate during an interview process which involved a dozen applicants.
He added: “It was his enthusiasm, determination but most of all it was what he was doing at Burton. It made it a pretty straight forward decision for us.
“He had a 64 per cent win rate, better than any manager in the country at the moment.
“We looked at that and when we did the interviews, his personality and determination to get to the top made us want to be part of that process as well.
“We want some stability at the football club and I think for any football club that’s imperative, but certainly for us.
“We’ve seen a lot of comings and goings in recent times. I believe that’s because we’ve not had the foundations in place and that’s what we’re aiming to put back in the football club, but it will take time.”