Football: For all the money spent and players brought in — 32 to be exact — since Queens Park Rangers were promoted to the Premier League in 2011, one man stands tall from that Championship winning team – Clint Hill.
In QPR’s latest backs-against-the-wall point verses a top-four team, Hill once again showed why he’s so important if the club are going to clamber out of the mess that they currently find themselves in.
Rangers may still be propping up the Premier League, but they remain unbeaten in 2013, and have kept clean sheets against Chelsea, Tottenham and now Manchester City in January.
Since Harry Redknapp took over in late November, Rangers, with Hill in the side, have only conceded 11 goals in 13 games.
“I thought Clint Hill tonight was outstanding,” beamed Redknapp.
“There’s a lad there, who people were questioning whether he could play in the Premier League and he’s done fantastic.
“We’re working hard, giving everything. You look at the quality of the opposition tonight, they’re a fantastic team. You just have to go give everything in these types of games and we’re working as hard as we can and clawing out some points. If you work hard you’ll get your rewards. We’ve put ourselves back in touching distance, so it’s good.”
In fact, the strong defensive core of this side that has stifled some of the world’s best attacking players in the last month was put together on free transfers.
Goalkeeper Julio Cesar, who once again made some superb stops, Hill, Ryan Nelsen and midfield enforcer Shaun Derry cost the club nothing in transfer fees.
The Manchester City front four of Carlos Tevez, David Silva, Sergio Aguero and Samir Nasri, all £140 million of them, were left frustrated and clueless against the fantastic four-man brick wall.
Cesar had to be alert to deal with a Gareth Barry effort just before half-time, but produced an even better save to deny Silva from close range as the game ticked into the last 10 minutes.
“The keeper's world-class,” Redknapp added.
“It was a difficult night for goalkeepers, the skiddy ball, it was windy, quite a bobbly pitch. But as I’ve said before, you only have to look at his record and look what he’s done in the game — he’s won everything.
"He’s an amazing keeper.”
Transfer-talk was also high on the agenda at Loftus Road as Redknapp is looking to strengthen his squad.
A deal to bring Peter Crouch to the club from Stoke in exchange for Jamie Mackie, who missed this game due to a back injury, is reportedly on the horizon.
“I’ve always took Crouchie wherever I’ve been,” Redknapp said.
"I took him from QPR when I was at Portsmouth a long time ago and I also managed him at Southampton, Portsmouth and Tottenham.
"He’s a player that I’ve always liked, whether Stoke want to sell him, I don’t know.”
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