Belfast Telegraph

QPR's Redknapp: Rio could be a boss

QPR boss Harry Redknapp has backed Rio Ferdinand to make it as a manager - but only if the former England captain opts for the difficult option when he retires.

The 36-year-old moved to Loftus Road in the summer having spent over a decade winning trophies at Manchester United and has found the transition into a team fighting for survival a difficult one.

Ferdinand played in QPR's opening seven Premier League fixtures, with only one win and a solitary clean-sheet recorded during that time.

A niggling groin injury, loss of form and a three-match ban handed down by the Football Association following an ill-advised Tweet have seen Ferdinand sidelined since the 2-0 defeat to former side West Ham on October 5.

He returns for the weekend visit of Leicester, although Redknapp admits a lack of match sharpness may lead to Ferdinand only warranting a place on the R's bench despite fellow defender Richard Dunne missing out through suspension.

During his time out of the side Redknapp believes Ferdinand has been a great presence around the training ground and feels that he has shown fledgling signs of his managerial credentials.

"He's a good lad and I think he's management material one day," said Redknapp.

"He's a good person and I like him a lot. he's a good person to have around the place because he's a good pro and a good trainer, and sets a good example to everybody on the training pitch.

"He talks to the younger players. The kids look up to him and know what he's done. They see what good shape he keeps himself in - he's not fat and overweight, lazy."

Ferdinand revealed in an interview on the Jonathan Ross Show that he intends to call it a day at the end of the current campaign and Redknapp does not believe he has to win anyone over between now and May.

"I don't think Rio has to prove anything to anybody really," he said.

His career has been so good he will just get on with it. He's a laid-back character and is always confident in his own ability, so I'm sure he will be okay."

Having blossomed as a teenager in Redknapp's West Ham side and reunited with the 67-year-old at the tail-end of his career, many would think Ferdinand's potential management style would mirror that of the QPR manager.

But Redknapp insists he would be much more of a cool customer - or he could opt out all together and stick to a career as a television pundit.

"No, not really. He's very laid-back and doesn't get upset very easy," Redknapp replied when asked if Ferdinand would be a similar type of manager to himself.

"He's just himself and is a very confident boy and was like that when I first signed him. I knew what he was going to become. I had no doubts about that.

"Or he could go into TV - it's probably easier and sounds a better bet - there is no aggro!"

Eduardo Vargas returns to the squad this weekend having missed the Newcastle match as his wife gave birth but Adel Taarabt (groin), Sandro and Alejandro Faurlin (both knee) remain sidelined.

Boss Nigel Pearson insisted Leicester's owners understand their current situation but knows he needs to bank more points.

The Foxes go to QPR on Saturday having failed to score in their last five games to slip into the Barclays Premier League relegation zone.

They are goalless in their last 500 minutes of action following last week's 0-0 draw with Sunderland.

And, ahead of Saturday's Loftus Road showdown with rock-bottom Rangers, Pearson insists owner Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha knows the difficulties in the top flight.

He said: "I speak to the owners and of course they would like more points, they're human beings, but there is an understanding of where we are.

"It is about getting ourselves into a situation where we are in a position to win games.

"We haven't done that recently so that's made it more difficult but I continue to work in a positive fashion.

"It's up to others to pick the bones out of where we're at and what we've done. You have a realistic appreciation of what we've done and my views don't change as rapidly as other people's."

Leicester won the Sky Bet Championship last season, with QPR promoted via the play-offs, but both have struggled to adapt to the top flight.

They prop up the table, along with Burnley to ensure all of last season's promoted sides are in the bottom three.

The Foxes have won just twice this term and are winless in their last seven games and Pearson knows his players have found it hard to adapt.

"It's never easy for players to make that adjustment from being a side used to winning games," he said.

"There are different types of pressure but there is always pressure in the sense that, if you are winning games, the expectation is there for you to do well.

"That can be a burden, as it is when you are not winning games. It's been a difficult adjustment but let's not kid ourselves, players are always under pressure to perform.

"The players remain in very good spirits and I have no qualms they are not only capable but will improve our form and that's the most important thing.

"It's not about losing faith or confidence in anyone who got us into the Premier League. We have proved capable in some games but the margins and small and we have not always found the answers.

"All three sides have found it difficult to make that adjustment."

Pearson is without Dean Hammond (calf) while Matt Upson is closing in on a return but is not match fit after a lay-off with a foot injury.

Rangers, like City, have won just twice and Pearson did not downplay the game.

He added: "All three sides are all fighitng very hard and all have confidence in their own squads. It will be an important game for us, as it will be for them."

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