Michael Doughty's transformation has been incredible, says QPR boss Chris Ramsey
PUBLISHED: 14:45 18 September 2015 | UPDATED: 14:59 18 September 2015
EXCLUSIVE: Chris Ramsey says QPR's youngsters should follow in Michael Doughty's footsteps if they want to stake a claim for a first-team place in the future.
The Rangers head coach has been amazed with the transformation of the Welsh midfielder since the end of last season, with the 22-year-old recently making his first ever start for the club in a 1-0 win at Huddersfield last month.
Ramsey told the Times: “To his credit we sat down at the end of the season and spoke about his running ability, his weight and his application.
“His future at the club was well and truly in the balance. He got told in no uncertain terms that he wasn’t really going to be in my plans unless he came back in good shape and with an enthusiasm that will force me to pick him, and he’s done just that.
“I don’t know what he’s done over the summer, but his transformation has been incredible.
“It’s easy to go off in the summer and enjoy yourself, so his dedication and commitment has been superb and it’s been noticed by a lot of people at the club.
“He’s been at the top in all the fitness tests we’ve done so far. For a young man to do what he’s done and in the way he’s done it has been nothing short of outstanding.
“Most youngsters at our club should be looking up to him and thinking to themselves ‘if he can do it, I can do it too’.”
Doughty recently revealed he had the option to leave Rangers during the summer but wanted to fight for his future – and Ramsey says the youngster made the right call.
The head coach added: “He hasn’t let anyone down in the games he’s played in, he’s been absolutely fantastic. I’ve been so impressed with him, probably more so than anyone else at the club.
“He took a risk because he believed in himself and knew what was required, and he’s gone out and done just that.
“His football education in the past probably hasn’t been as good as it should have been though, and as a result he does still show a bit of naivety in his game.
“His technical ability has been what has kept him in the game to date, not his physical ability. That wasn’t at a good enough level before for him to play for this team – it is now though.
“It is very difficult to leave him out at the moment, but unfortunately because of his lack of credibility last season I’ve had to go out and make plans with other people in mind.
“He’s saved us a few quid anyway because we don’t have to get that extra squad player now as we’ve got him.
“We know he’s young and can’t churn out game after game. The more he plays the more he’ll learn and develop his game.”
Another player who has caught Ramsey’s eye this season has been former Tottenham defender Grant Hall.
“Grant has been as good an acquisition as anybody else,” said Ramsey. “He was very, very modestly acquired and I think his performances have been absolutely fantastic. He knew what his role was when he signed for us.
“That was primarily as back-up with the aim of developing into a first-team player, but fortunately for us he’s surpassed expectations.
“He’s a talented boy and the thing about him is, as is the case with [Gabriele] Angella too, they’re good on the ball and that’s vital as we want to play through midfield.”