Former Rangers manager Mark Warburton has criticised the club’s handling of Lee Wallace’s situation after signing him up at current side QPR, as reported by The Scottish Sun.
Wallace was suspended by the Ibrox hierarchy last year after a dressing room bust-up in the wake of a heavy cup defeat to Celtic at Hampden but ended up staying at the club, albeit frozen out of first-team action apart from three subsequent short appearances.
Warburton reckons that he didn’t play for political reasons, not because of his footballing ability or fitness, and has criticised the Ibrox side for treating him in that manner after landing the player on a free transfer.
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As quoted by The Scottish Sun, he said:
“It was unfair what happened to Lee at Rangers. It was harsh. For whatever political reason, he wasn’t playing.
“For me, Lee’s a great signing and he couldn’t be more motivated to do well for QPR. I’ve kept in touch with him since I left Rangers, as I have with Kenny [Miller], and events there hurt them.
“Lee stayed on and conducted himself wonderfully well right up to the point he left Rangers. People asked me about him and what was going on.
“Now I’ve no intention of provoking people or speaking out of turn. But Lee Wallace is an outstanding professional. How he conducts himself day-in day-out, ask any of the players how they saw him and look at the reception he got from the fans.
“Yet to go from playing for Scotland at Wembley to not playing at all? Explain that to me.”
Wallace’s exclusion from regular first-team football last season was certainly a puzzle. Steven Gerrard did sign Borna Barisic from NK Osijek, but after he had fitness problems and form issues it wasn’t Wallace that the Gers manager turned to at left-back, but Jon Flanagan.
Flanagan is right-footed and has played most of his senior career on the opposite flank, so the snub of Wallace was something of an insult.
The former club captain was a superb leader for Rangers when they had to make their way through the lower leagues and to be treated harshly for a heat-of-the-moment spat in the wake of a derby defeat does seem unfair.
Both Wallace and Warburton will now be hoping he can make the right impact in the English Championship with QPR.