Queens Park Rangers owner Tony Fernandes has heaped praise on some of the club’s younger players after coming off the bench and securing an impressive 4-2 win against Manchester United.
England international Jesse Lingard had initially put Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side 1-0 up within three minutes, but new signing Charlie Austin made it 1-1 just four minutes later and managed to get to half-time with the scores level.
However, it was the second half that blew fans away at the Kiyan Prince Foundation Stadium, with Lyndon Dykes’ quickfire brace and Moses Odubajo’s strike putting the Championship side 4-1 up before the hour mark before talented teenager Anthony Elanga pulled one back in the 73rd minute.
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There were also a few young prospects who came on for the Championship side in the second half, with 19-year-old’s Charlie Kelman and Joe Walsh and 20-year-old Stephen Duke-McKenna all making an appearance – and the former playing for a full 45 minutes after replacing Seny Dieng between the sticks at half-time.
In this quest to add to their starting 11 and have the strength in depth required to push for another top-half finish again, they have already made eight senior signings, with Stefan Johansen joining on Saturday and Moses Odubajo set to be handed a deal.
However, the emergence of these young players can only be a good thing for the R’s with manager Mark Warburton hoping to have as much squad depth as possible.
Owner Tony Fernandes was particularly pleased with the youngsters despite three senior professionals bagging their four goals – and in an Instagram post with a picture of Sky Sports match report headline following the 4-2 win, he stated: “Nice headline. Only a friendly but loved the way in the second half a lot of [the] young players came on and looked class.”
Sam Field’s recent knee injury is a major blow for QPR – but their pre-season has been a productive one overall with these new signings and Warburton integrating some of the younger players in his squad.
With the United Kingdom’s withdrawal from the European Union making it harder for clubs to purchase players from 27 countries on the continent, a market many teams have taken advantage of in recent years, developing your own players will become more important and fans of the west London side will be hoping this faith placed in youngsters is a sign of things to come.
While places earned in the starting 11 should be based on merit and not whether you’re an academy graduate or not, some of the youngsters who played against Manchester United could prove to be vital in the future.
And if Warburton can successfully integrate his new signings from the summer, his existing squad and some of the younger players who have proven they are good enough all together, this could be a recipe for success at the Kiyan Prince Foundation Stadium.