The Queens Park Rangers manager predicts a bright future for the R’s young crop
Despite it being a very quiet transfer window in terms of players coming in, Queens Park Rangers saw fit to allow up to seven players to leave the club on loan, and Steve McClaren expects a return next season.
The QPR boss has overseen the mini-exodus, with the hope that Rangers' young hopefuls all come back primed and ready to challenge for a place in the starting XI.
"They've been training with the first-team for four or five months, got that experience under their belt, and now they're experiencing league football all over the country, which I thought was the next development for them,” McClaren told QPR’s Trust 10th anniversary celebrations via football.london.
"We've got six or seven young players out - monitoring them - and hoping that when they come back in the summer they'll be ready for the first team."
It appears to be a pivotal time for QPR's youth academy, which had previously struggled to develop players that could challenge for a first-team spot. But the hard work in recent seasons could pay dividends.
Eberechi Eze and Darnell Furlong are two examples of academy graduates who have gone on to make the grade, although the former did spend time at Millwall’s academy before making the breakthrough.
Currently, the likes of Paul Smyth, Illias Chair and Aramide Oteh are expected to play a big role in QPR’s first-team over the next year or two, and the trio are perfectly poised to make the step up, assuming they make the right impression between now and the summer.
Charlie Owens also has a chance to continue his development while on loan at Wycombe Wanderers, and forgotten man Sean Goss has another chance to reignite his career at Loftus Road with a temporary stint at St Johnstone.
Whatever happens between now and the summer, McClaren has ensured his young hopefuls have the best chance to make it in W12 and, although QPR’s squad appears lighter because of it, it will only be Rangers who benefit in the long-run.