Queens Park Rangers defender Rob Dickie has been a key player at the Kiyan Prince Foundation Stadium since his arrival from Oxford United last September.
Following his departure from Championship side Reading in January 2018 after not receiving many first-team opportunities in Berkshire, the 25-year-old took the step down to play at the Kassam Stadium in a bid to win more first-team football.
He thrived under Karl Robinson in League One, helping to guide the U’s to a fourth-place finish during the 2019/20 campaign in his first and only full season there before moving on to Mark Warburton’s side, having a similar impact in west London last season and helping them to reach a very respectable ninth-place.
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For a side that spent much of their time fighting in the bottom half of the second-tier table before Warburton’s arrival, this was impressive and they have done even better this season, with Dickie playing a big part in that.
He’s scored four goals in nine competitive appearances in 2021/22 thus far, grabbing vital goals to help QPR go unbeaten in eight of these matches.
They lost their first game of the campaign against AFC Bournemouth on Tuesday night – but that man Dickie showed his Premier League potential at the Vitality Stadium and despite making a costly mistake for the Cherries’ first goal – a quick look at his statistics show he was still an impressive figure at the back.
With this, we have delved deeper into his performance on the south coast.
Many QPR fans will be shocked seeing these statistics, with those on the more critical side of things potentially being able to put Dickie at fault for his part in the second goal as well.
He arguably gave Jaidon Anthony too much time to pick out Dominic Solanke in the middle – but if these statistics are anything to go by – the 25-year-old is still a vital asset to have.
You could even say these figures show Dickie will continue to win his battles and not let his head up despite the early setback he faced, after being caught in possession for Bournemouth’s opener in the 12th minute.
Winning 90% of his aerial duels at the Vitality Stadium, this could foreshadow how important he could continue to be from set-pieces, both defensively and offensively throughout the 2021/22 season.
Against tall, physical forwards in the Championship, his aerial prowess is a particularly useful asset to a QPR side who won’t want to be bullied at the back.
With this, the R’s will know any goal kick from the opposition is more than likely to go straight back in the other direction if the ball lands in Dickie’s territory, supplying the likes of Andre Gray, Charlie Austin and Lyndon Dykes up top who need as much possession on the ball as possible to make the desired impact.
All three will be imperative to Mark Warburton’s side’s promotion chase, so the longer they can keep the ball in the opposition’s half, the better.
On the theme of winning possession, the centre-half won all four of his loose ball duels on Wednesday night, also making an impressive nine interceptions which is considerably higher than his 6.21 average so far this season. You could say this is because they came up against a good side, but it’s still an impressive stat nonetheless.
And ironically, his ability to retain the ball with 88% passing accuracy is in complete contrast with his earlier error, so that mistake only showed one side of the centre-back in midweek.
It wouldn’t even be a surprise to see him make amends at the other side and continue to shine in front of goal, coming out victorious in 83% of his offensive duels and continuing to be a threat in the opposition box.
If this was a bad performance by Dickie then, it’s no surprise to hear that Leeds United and Wolverhampton Wanderers were both reported to be monitoring his situation in the summer.
It would be hard to see him not secure a move to the Premier League in the next year or two if he can continue to stand out as one of the R’s star players, but consistency will be key and he would be sorely missed if he left the Kiyan Prince Foundation Stadium.