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Sunday 17 December 2017

Les Ferdinand 'delighted' to be named QPR director of football

Les Ferdinand
Les Ferdinand

Les Ferdinand has been named QPR director of football as part of a coaching restructuring in the wake of Harry Redknapp's resignation as manager.

Ferdinand, who returned to Loftus Road last October as head of football operations, was on Tuesday placed in caretaker charge of the first team, alongside Chris Ramsey and Kevin Bond, when Redknapp quit citing the need for knee surgery.

Now Ferdinand's role has been redefined, with responsibility for the whole football department, chairman Tony Fernandes announced on Wednesday.

Former Tottenham head coach Tim Sherwood, who worked alongside Ferdinand and Ramsey at White Hart Lane, is the favourite to succeed Redknapp, with the possibility it could be as a head coach, rather than a manager.

It was also confirmed officially that Glenn Hoddle and Joe Jordan had followed Redknapp in leaving Loftus Road.

Ferdinand is likely to have a say in the appointment, boosting Sherwood's chances of a return following his departure from White Hart Lane last May.

He was linked with roles at Norwich, Brighton, West Brom and Crystal Palace, but the familiar faces at QPR suggest it is a strong fit for the former midfielder, who won the Premier League title with Blackburn but would have to get his head around a survival fight with Rangers 19th in the table.

Ferdinand has "already made significant improvements to the footballing philosophy of the club since his return - and the board are now keen for him to have more of a hands-on role at all levels, particularly in the field of recruitment, working closely with the first team", QPR said in a statement.

Fernandes told www.qpr.co.uk: "I've been really impressed with the job Les has done in his short time here and as such I am keen for his role to evolve, with the clear mandate of assisting us in developing and evolving the footballing department, from the academy to the first team.

"This is a new strategy for us. Our recruitment policy at QPR is changing.

"We want to develop a philosophy of buying young, hungry players, who can go on to forge decent careers with us.

"Premier League survival is our priority in the short term, but in the medium and long term we want to make sure everything is in place, from the academy upwards, to create a culture and philosophy within the club that QPR fans can be proud of.

"Les bleeds blue and white and working closely with the first team and academy management, particularly in recruitment, he is going to play a key role in moving us forward over the coming months and years."

Former England, QPR, Tottenham and Newcastle striker Ferdinand is relishing his latest challenge.

"Everyone knows what this club means to me and if anything the last few months have only enhanced the feelings I have for QPR," the 48-year-old said.

"Working closely with Tony and the Board, I can assure QPR fans that they are desperate to create a lasting legacy at Loftus Road and the role of Director of Football will be hugely important in terms of where we want to take this club in the future.

"Some of the management courses I've taken over the last few years were with a role like this in mind, so I couldn't be more delighted."

Redknapp's departure was attributed to a need for knee surgery, despite rumours of conflict over transfers, while QPR's struggles include the failure to secure one point from 11 matches away from home this term.

Fernandes has revealed changes to QPR's strategy were necessary and he wants the club to nurture young talent, rather than buy in players.

He added: "I've had many messages from supporters, of all ages, who aren't - for one reason or another - satisfied with what's going on at QPR at the moment, but I can reassure all Rangers fans that we are putting the building blocks in place to move things in the right direction for the future.

"We've made a number of mistakes in the transfer market over the last few years and it's something we want to change.

"We don't want to be a buying club - we want to nurture young talent and build a young, ambitious team."

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