Michael Doughty driven on to succeed at QPR by his late father's memory
PUBLISHED: 07:00 03 September 2015
EXCLUSIVE: Michael Doughty says tragedy in his life has helped shape him into the individual he is today and made him hungrier than ever to succeed at QPR.
The midfielder lost his father, Nigel – the former chairman of Nottingham Forest – to sudden adult death syndrome in February 2012, and the 22-year-old feels that experience has driven him on.
He told the Times: “Your personal life experiences help bond you and give you a good framework to deal with situations.
“In terms of who I am as a human being, that has definitely shaped my outlook on life and given me a lot of perspective on things. That experience, as terrible as it was, has made me the man I am today.”
Following successful loan spells with the likes of Stevenage and Gillingham, Doughty – who lives in Kilburn – has finally made the breakthrough into QPR’s first-team squad, having been at the club since his early teenage years.
Doughty made his first league start for Rangers at Huddersfield on Saturday as the Rs picked up a third straight league win, triumphing 1-0 courtesy of Tjaronn Chery’s late goal and moving up to fourth in the Championship table.
Doughty says he is far from the finished article – but he is grateful for the faith that Chris Ramsey, who handed the midfielder his Premier League debut at Sunderland last season, has shown in him.
“For whatever reasons in my personal life and professionally I wasn’t ready to come into the first team here before and produce performances that I know I am capable of, which in turn would have helped the team,” said Doughty.
“Those loan spells were crucial in my development and helped me realise different sides to my game. The manager here has shown a lot of confidence in me and that’s helped me immensely.
“On a personal note I’m delighted to have been involved as much as I have been in the first-team squad so far.
“Football’s a funny old game though. The minute you think you’ve got somewhere is the minute you stop progressing, so I’ve just got to focus on my game and how I can improve and move forward. I’m improving every day as a player and as a person.”
Doughty continued: “As a young player you’ve got to make yourself versatile in terms of the options you can provide for the team. Ideally I see myself as a centre midfielder, but ultimately it’s a learning curve for me to develop different sides of my game.”
One area QPR aren’t lacking depth in is midfield, with Doughty currently ahead of some players in the pecking order who have had Premier League experience.
“You can’t be intimidated by players’ previous exploits, because it’s a level playing field – we’re all desperate to play,” he said. “I’m not a kid any more in that respect, I’m 22 years of age, so if I’m really going to make an impression at this level I’ve got to be knocking on the door all the time now.
“The calibre of players we’ve got is tremendous, I can learn from every one of those, and their experiences and their quality. But equally I know I can be an asset to this team, and thankfully the manager seems to think that too.”
Max Ehmer opted to leave QPR earlier this summer to join Gillingham on a permanent transfer after a lack of first-team chances.
Doughty revealed he also had offers to leave the club – but the Welshman had no plans to abandon his dream of hitting the big time with QPR.
“It was a balance between wanting to play and wanting to play at the highest level,” he said. “At this moment of time I thought I had a real opportunity to produce consistent performances at this level and get some minutes.
“I backed my own ability there, which was a risk, but I’ll continue to do that throughout my career because ultimately that’s going to get me to the places I want to go.
“In an ideal scenario I envisage spending a large chunk of my career [here] and hopefully playing for this club at the highest level, but I’ve still got a lot of things to improve on to achieve that.”