Strength of the Football League: Adel Taarabt

by Josh Wright

Following this week’s Football League awards it seems fitting that this feature is on the player who won the award for this season, Queens Park Rangers’ Adel Taarabt, a player that so far this season has scored 15 goals and captained his team within a short grasp of the Premier League.

At 21 Taarabt is one of the youngest to players to win such a prestigious award, an award that recognises him alongside previous winners such as Kevin Nolan, Kevin Phillips and Phil Jagielka. His manager Neil Warnock describes him as, “the most talented player that I have had under my wing in my entire 30-year management career,” not a bad reference coming from one of the most experienced managers in the country. The host of praises continue from his team mates, Shaun Derry, when questioned on Taarabt stated, “In this division you look for individual talent that can singlehandedly change games and you cannot look further than Taarabt. When we have needed a bit of magic to get back into a game, he has given us a bright spark by either scoring or creating a goal.”

Praise and awards such as these have not been ever-present in Taarabt’s early career, and the player has had to work hard to achieve what he has to date. The Moroccan-born midfielder grew up in France, after moving from his native Morocco aged 9 months. He signed for Lens however made just a handful of appearance before being signed by Tottenham Hotspur aged 17, with comparisons to greats such as Zidane. The period at Tottenham was, however, an unhappy one for Taarabt and after suffering setbacks such as not being given a squad number by the then Spurs manager Juande Ramos and after only making a minimal number of appearances, Taarabt made the loan move to QPR.  After a string of appearances Taarabt clearly impressed and was signed on a season-long loan the following year, a season that would include 7 goals in 41 appearances. In the summer of 2010 Taarabt signed permanently for QPR, for a fee believed to be in the region of £1 million. It is this step down to the Championship that has seemingly rejuvenated the individual’s career, and spring boarded him onto the football world radar.

It is not just the return goal wise that has set Taarabt apart from his contemporaries this season, although 15 goals from an attacking midfielder with 8 games to go is a fantastic return, but the way he plays and the skill he possesses. Taarabt is one of the most technically gifted players to grace the Championship and his range of tricks and turns dazzle and amaze not only supporters but his team mates and opposition alike. The player does possess an attitude that Warnock’s predecessors struggled to deal with. However despite a few incidents in which his previous attitude issue has arisen, on the whole Taarabt and QPR have managed to control this and as such have reaped the rewards. Whilst Warnock has been integral in this, Taarabt has likened him to a father, credit must go to the player for constraining a weakness that has ruined many and threatened to ruin his career.

Taarabt is not a defensive player, his positional statistics show this, on some occasions he sulks and can be selfish, but any manager would be delighted to have this individual in their squad, a point emphasised by Warnock appointing the Moroccan as his captain, and their teams would be far better for it.

9 Responses

  1. Mike Roberts says:

    It’ll be interesting to see how Taarabt gets on in the Premier League if QPR get promoted as he’ll either be a big success or a complete failure. I can see them struggling and possibly having to sell him next Christmas if the price is right.

  2. john cooper says:

    When you say you can see us struggling.Why?We may not have been playing premiership teams but weve hardly let any goals in all season.Do you think we are suddenly going to leak.Why would we sell him at Christmas an if hes good he will stay and if hes bad no-one will want him.You dont have a clue do you?Rangers fan that goes to every match.(Not an armchair supporter)

    1. Mike Roberts says:

      Bristol City season ticket holder for the last twenty seasons, so I think I might know a little bit about how The Championship and League 1 work. Just because you’re not being scored on in the Championship (although we’ve scored three of the 23 goals you’ve conceded and we’ve struggled this year) doesn’t mean that you’re going to be anywhere as good in the Premier League.

      IF you sell him (and I said ‘possibly’ in my original comment) then you’ll be able to buy in more talent IF you struggle and get relegated. You might not: good luck to you, I’ll be very pleased for Bradley Orr if he plays in the Prem.

  3. Abbas says:

    You fail to mention his ridiculously bad attitude that ruined his chance at Spurs. Nobody’s fault but his own. However, under one of the best man-managers in the business he’s finally showing what he can. Giving him the captaincy was, in my eyes, a token guesture to inspire him to shed the immaturity.

    He’s been absolutely unreal this season, as soon as he gets the ball, something happens. Cannot wait to see him in the Prem.

    1. Josh Wright says:

      You have to appreciate the fact that he was 17 year old in a brand new country with one of the biggest clubs in England under arguably one of the Premier League’s worst managers, Ramos, in the past few years.

      Glad that Warnock has managed to appease him and that this side of his personality is subsided mostly because at his best he is a joy to watch.

  4. Ad says:

    I’m intruiged to see what Taarabt can bring to the Premier League next season. Having seen him play a bit this season, he certainly looks like a skilled and tricky player with composure and creativity.

    QPR look destined for promotion and I imagine that Taarabt will play an important part in their first season back in the top flight….if one of the Premiership big boys don’t snap him up over the summer of course!

  5. mark says:

    It will be interesting to see how he gets on. I dont think he’ll do as well this year, he seems to have a bit of a free role with QPR this year, the way ronaldo did in his great season with man united. But in the PL, a newly promoted team will probably need everyone to work hard, cant indulge a player that doesnt track back. I can see Colin playing him up front next season

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