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Warburton, Beale and Clint Hill - through a young player's eyes
at 23:55 26 Sep 2022

The 'Rangers Review' has a long interview with Aidan Wilson, a young Scots Centre Back who was at Rangers from he was a small boy, but didn't quite make it at senior level, partly due to injury and partly due to the club upgrading its playing staff after Gerrard and Beale took over.

Anyhow, after playing lower league in Scotland, he's now 25 and with Glentoran in Belfast, and he makes some observations about his time at Ibrox which might interest a few on here, as follows:

“When I was getting to 16/17 I think it was Mark Warburton who was the manager but he never really brought too many young boys round to train with the first team.
“Then Pedro [Caixinha] got the job and there were more young boys filtering round. I ended up going round and training and I seemed to do well enough to the point where Pedro wanted you to come round and was actually asking for me."

“Clint Hill really helped me. He used to sit and watch my clips with me and just give me wee pointers here and there. He was probably the most influential of the centre-halves at the time. I actually speak to Clint here and there now and if I need anything I’ll just drop him a message and he’ll always reply. He was great for me.”

“When [Steven] Gerrard first came in, we were doing a lot of hard runs and stuff in pre-season and I just felt something wasn’t right with my knee. I tried to play through it but I just didn’t feel physically right. To be fair, when I spoke to Gerrard before I left, he was brilliant and Mick Beale was as well. They could see I wasn’t right but they looked after me brilliantly. It took quite a while to work out what was best for me in terms of operation-wise but eventually, I got the best treatment and best surgery and the club looked after me brilliantly."
Positions, Points, Performances and QPR's season to date.
at 12:42 13 Apr 2022

Although I don't pretend to understand exactly how it's calculated, I have become a big fan of Expected Goals (xG) analysis as a better underlying indicator of a team's overall performances than a snapshot of its league position on any given date.

I use FiveThirtyEight for this, an American site which covers many different sports (also politics). And while reviewing Brentford's progress the other day, I took a quick look at QPR, which was very significant imo:

The front page shows their prediction of where they predict teams will finish the season - as of today they have QPR in 11th place on 65 points.

However, if you click on the SPI button (just under "Team Rating"), this shows their assessment of each team's current performances. ("SPI" stands for Soccer Power Index and basically equates to a combined xG, both For and Against).

And this season the disparity between QPR's results/league position and their underlying performances has been quite striking at times.

During August, when QPR were top five, their SPI rating was 8th or 9th, albeit with a very small sample size.

In September and October, the two correlated much closer, with the team standing between 6th and 10th in the table, with an SPI of 7th to 9th.

QPR's SPI remained the same during November however, while QPR climbed the table as high as 3rd (29/11).

And this disparity widened during December and January, when the team was consistently 4th in the table, while their SPI fell to 9th or 10th.

February/March saw a continuance, with the club still in/around the playoff places, while their SPI fell to 13th.

By 20th March QPR were down to 8th in the table, while their SPI was showiing 15th and as the club has dropped to 9th and then 10th since, so has their SPI fallen, to 16th and then 17th (today's rating).

In short, while the club was flying high around the turn of the year, FiveThirtyEight suggests this was a false position, as measured by underlying performances.

Which in turn explains their recent run of defeats, as results finally begin to align closer with their actual performances (reversion to the mean).
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