QPR’s on-loan West Ham striker Jordan Hugill has revealed he didn’t push for a return to Middlesbrough during the summer transfer window, and that he still believes his move to the Premier League has made him a better player.
Hugill made the move to West Ham from Championship outfit Preston in January 2018, but has struggled to have any sort of impact at the London Stadium, making just three substitute appearances during his first half a season in the top flight.
The following summer, Hugill was sent back to the Championship for the 2018/19 season, where he scored just seven goals in 41 appearances in all competitions for his boyhood club.
This season, Hugill has once again returned to the second-tier, joining QPR on a season-long loan, and the striker has now admitted that a return to the Riverside Stadium was never really on the cards for the current campaign, as he told The Metro: “I’m not sure — I didn’t pursue that (a return to Middlesbrough) too much.
“At Middlesbrough things just didn’t happen — nothing against Middlesbrough, that’s my club, where I grew up and was a season-ticket holder. I love that club to death. But sometimes things don’t go the way you want them to go.”
Despite those aforementioned struggles at West Ham, Hugill still believes that he deserved his chance in the Premier League, and feels that he has benefitted from it, as the 27-year-old continued by saying: “I learnt more about football in the six months at West Ham than at any other time.
“I might not have been playing but I was around world-class players. It was the biggest learning curve I’ve had and people might think I shouldn’t have been there, but I deserved that move.”
Since moving to QPR, Hugill has scored five goals in seven games to sit joint top of the division’s individual goalscoring charts, so it is no surprise that he is enjoying his time with the London club, with the striker adding: “To come here has been a breath of fresh air and I’m enjoying playing and scoring goals.
“It’s a team that creates chances and the way I’ve started I’m going into games thinking I’m going to score one if not two. That’s my mindset at the moment. From the moment I arrived here I felt like I was at Preston again.”
One man who has clearly impressed Hugill this season is new QPR boss Mark Warburton, with Hugill paying tribute to the 57-year-old by concluding: “The manager instilled confidence in me straight away and I’ve always said if you give me the chances I’ll score goals. He knew I’d fit the system and that’s been right so far.
“The manager made the effort to go out of his way to meet me, to speak to me and get across his point of view.”
After four wins and a draw from their opening seven games of the season, QPR are currently seventh in the early Championship standings, and are next in action when they travel to London rivals Millwall on Saturday.
I think Hugill made the right decision in not returning to Middlesbrough this season.
Having struggled there last year, it would have undoubtedly been a risk to make the same move again, and his success at QPR does seem to suggest that the move there has paid off.
In fairness to Hugill, his form at QPR so far this season is starting to make him look like the sort of player that West Ham targeted 18 months ago, and that should not have gone unnoticed at his parent club.
The challenge for Hugill now is to maintain that form throughout the course of the season, in order to give himself the chance of forcing his way back into the Hammers side upon his return to the London Stadium at the end of this season.