Monday, 21 March 2011

Taarabt: I couldn't have done it without you, Mrs Warnock

Adel Taarabt Queens Park Rangers FC

Barely a week in the Championship seems to pass without Adel Taarabt causing a stir. The 21-year-old has been the outstanding player in a Queens Park Rangersteam whose dominance has been such that they need only 15 points from eight games to return to thePremier League next season.
And even on a weekend where Taarabt missed his first game of the season - due to a family bereavement - theMoroccan playmaker was unable to keep a low profile as he received the Championship Player of the year award in London last night.
Taarabt is a temperamental character and a difficult man to manage; a player capable of genius one week and mediocrity the next.
His spell at his last club, Tottenham, was a troubled one. The man who signed him, Martin Jol, was sacked nine months later, Taarabt never felt comfortable during Juande Ramos's year in charge and then failed to win a place under Harry Redknapp.
But since moving to Loftus Road, Taarabt has found a manager, Neil Warnock, who has made him feel welcome, even making him captain, and has finally got the best out of him.
"I've been here only a year, it has been so quick and I am very happy," said Taarabt at The Brewery, in the Barbican, last night. "I have found a home and a family.
"Warnock's wife [Sharon] has looked after me and his kids have been like family to me. I cannot describe our relationship. Sometimes I think God has brought this guy to me, I am very difficult guy to control but Neil does it.
"It is special between me and him, he changed my life. He tells me to just go out onto the pitch and enjoy it. After all that he has given me I try and repay him.
"I was at Spurs and had a very difficult time. I wanted to show what I can do and to prove to people. I want to go back to the Premier League."
The standard of the Championship has risen markedly in recent years - none of the teams promoted to the Premier League last year are in the relegation zone - but Warnock is in no doubt that Taarabt will have to raise his game if he is to succeed in his second bite at top-flight action.
"He will have to make slight adjustments to his game because I have let him have more leeway than he would in the Premier League," said the Rangers manager.
"If you lose the ball in the Premier League then you won't see it for 10 minutes. He will have to take more responsibility upon himself but some of the things he does when he shouldn't do them amaze me. I'll shout at him to pass it and then he'll go and beat three men."
And after a difficult start to his professional career, Warnock is convinced the environment is in place for Taarabt to become a star in the Premier League next season.
"A lot has happened in his life and he is getting more mature," said the 62-year-old.
"He has a lovely girlfriend now and she is going to come over here next year to live and I'm delighted. When I saw him last week before the Palace game, I knew he would be man of the match because he is like a matador so she'll be a good influence on him.
"Adel couldn't play for Tottenham. Because there are so many good players, you can't fit a system round him as there are 10 other players as good as him.
"You need circumstances with Adel and Harry knew it. He didn't have time to do what I did with Adel as he is going for Europe and whatever. I've only got one Adel and I've barely got enough time!
He's the most talented player I've ever seen."

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