After being found culpable of breaching FA regulations regarding social media activity, QPR stopper Rio Ferdinand has been handed a three-match ban.
Such news may well stick in the craw of Tony Fernandes and the chaps responsible for paying the ageing centre-half’s wages, but the on-pitch fortunes of the R’s are likely to improve in his absence.
The two finest performances the west Londoners have produced this term – a desperately unlucky 3-2 loss to Liverpool and a 2-0 win over Aston Villa – came when the former Manchester United man was kept on ice.
Pairing Richard Dunne’s level head with the youthful exuberance of Steven Caulker is yielding much-improved results for the Super Hoops and Ferdinand’s stint in the sin bin will allow this to grow unhindered.
Ingratiating Ferdinand back into the side at the behest of this partnership would be inadvisable given his injury-proneness, as well as poor form.
The final years of his Man Utd days were spent hokey-cokeying in and out of the team in order to manage a string of chronic conditions.
A talent-loaded roster meant that the Red Devils had quality cover to come in.
QPR do not and would be better served making Dunne first-choice senior centre-back, keeping him in the team to ensure match fitness remains.
There are substantial questions surrounding the West Ham academy alumnus’ motivation too following his comments that this season will probably be his last in the game.
Judging from by his performances in the fledgling days of the campaign, it could be argued that too much of Ferdinand’s attention has been channelled into comprising a retirement plan, not giving his best to QPR’s cause.
Another factor that could be responsible for his below par start to the season is that after spending over a decade at Old Trafford, the 81-cap England man has grown unaccustomed to defending against teams who will dominate the possession.
Having his hands forever on deck is a style that, evidently, doesn’t suit Ferdinand in his old age, whereas Irish rearguard marshal Dunne has done it throughout his career.
With Chelsea and Manchester City up next, the R’s have got a couple more afternoons with their backs to the wall on the horizon and are likely to fare better in these without the Peckham native.
QPR are 15/4 to avoid defeat at Stamford Bridge next.