This article is part of Football FanCast’s The Chalkboard series, which provides a tactical insight into teams, players, managers, potential signings and more…
Mark Warburton still hasn’t decided on his favoured formation, but will Lee Wallace being integrated into the side present the QPR boss with more options?
The former Rangers captain signed in the summer but injury ruled him out until a couple of weeks ago, and although he is yet to improve the defence, his presence could be important.
Wallace has been part of a defence that has conceded four goals in two matches, but he has played in a less familiar role at centre-back, and is best suited to left-back, where Ryan Manning plays.
The 23-year-old has been one of QPR’s best players this season and his form has been rewarded with interest from Premier League clubs.
However, he is better going forward than in defence, with Warburton admitting he has done well at left-back but hinting that it may not be his best position, and therefore a slight change could benefit both players and perhaps help solve the team’s defensive issues.
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Manning was described as a flexible player by his manager and throughout his career the various positions he has played support that view, with left-midfield often a role he has filled in the past.
Watching his style, it is clear to see he thrives going forward, and whilst he has done well in a more defensive role this term, his stats suggest he would be more effective for his side if played further forward.
He has one goal and three assists as well as an impressive return of 2.3 key passes per league game, so he would provide a key threat down the R’s left flank in a 4-2-3-1 formation, which Warburton has used frequently since taking over.
The Irishman has also managed 2.2 tackles, which means he would provide adequate cover for Wallace, and help him out when necessary – which could make the team tighter at the back.
QPR would also benefit from having Wallace in the full-back role. It would allow a natural centre-back to come in but also allow the Scot to focus on the defensive aspect of his game, which is what suits him best.
His two tackles per game show it hasn’t taken him long to get up to speed despite a lengthy injury, and as he builds up his fitness he will likely only get better.
The alterations could benefit QPR in both attack and defence, and given the latter is a particular problem, it could be a significant change if it occurred.