At the end of June 2020, QPR confirmed midfielder Charlie Owens had undergone surgery that would keep him out for six months.
A procedure to help out a niggling knee injury, it was Owens’ second operation in the calendar year with him initially going under the knife in January.
Wind forward now, though, and Owens is coming to the end of his long rehabilitation period with him surely having eyes on eventually competing for a first-team spot, having flirted with senior involvement before his knee stopped him in his tracks.
In his latest set of manager notes for ‘Hoops,’ QPR’s official matchday programme, Mark Warburton gave an update on Owens ahead of the 1-0 win over Blackburn Rovers.
“Another young player continuing his rehabilitation from knee surgery is Charlie Owens. You may recall the quality he displayed early last season and he was certainly poised to kick-on and look to make a consistent impact at first-team level.
“Unfortunately, he has since undergone a series of operations to cure a nagging knee issue and he is still some weeks away from returning to normal training.
“However, he remains focused and committed to his rehabilitation process and it is good to see the positive approach he adopts every time he appears at the training ground.”
Oweens, then, isn’t on the brink of an imminent first-team spell but it does sound as though he is getting there and that alone is pleasing enough for QPR fans to hear.
What further obstacles could he face in his bid to make it as a first-team regular though?
Obviously, he needs to come through rehab with no further knee issues – touch wood that that won’t happen – and then he needs to build match sharpness as well as general fitness.
QPR have often sought to use the u23 side as a platform for players to do that and so once Owens is clocking up the minutes for them there’ll be a sign he’s on the way.
Finally, it’s challenging to get into the first-team midfield in training where he’ll really want to show what he can do.
Luke Amos remains out injured whilst Tom Carroll is also out for a while yet but there are players in the form of Stefan Johansen and Dom Ball naturally ahead of him in the pecking order, whilst Geoff Cameron could be too – though he’s been in defence more of late.
That said, though, there aren’t loads of options in front of him for a central role – Faysal Bettache is another but Warburton has recently hinted at a loan spell for him once the QPR squad gets back to a level of strength.
Indeed, Owens will be aiming to be a part of that and, from there, will look to build on the breakthrough he was surmounting before a year of setbacks.