This article is part of Football FanCast’s In Numbers series, which takes a statistical look at performances, season-long form and reported transfer targets…
Cast your mind back to QPR’s 2-1 win over Sheffield Wednesday a number of weeks ago now.
It was the first time that Mark Warburton deployed a 5-3-2 formation in the Championship with the R’s, having previously used it exclusively in the Carabao Cup loss to Bristol City.
The switch seemed to do the trick, with Jordan Hugill netting a quickfire double to secure the three points for Warburton’s men, although another player in white and blue also starred against the Owls – Ryan Manning.
The Irishman – who we detailed fit the 5-3-2 system like a glove – grabbed an assist, recorded three key passes, embarked on a game-high four dribbles and was fouled five times in a performance that showed he was well suited to a wing-back role.
However, his most recent outing against Blackburn proves that the 5 foot 11 left-back can deliver brilliant performances no matter the system.
Warburton reverted back to a 4-2-3-1 for the visit of Tony Mowbray’s side, meaning that Manning would be operating in a flat back four rather than being entrusted in a wing-back role – regardless, the 23-year-old was still exceptional.
Manning – like he did against Sheffield Wednesday – recorded three key passes, while also delivering seven crosses with four of them accurate ones.
Again, similarly to the game against the Owls, Manning grabbed one assist. QPR’s No.14 also had one shot, but didn’t let his defensive duties suffer amidst all of his good attacking work, having also made three interceptions and a tackle.
After seeing how well the former Rotherham man played in a 5-2-3 system, you may not have expected him to perform as effectively in a four-man backline going forward, given the not-so-obvious invitation to attack, but nevertheless, Manning thrived once again.
It proved that the young full-back can deliver the goods no matter which of Warburton’s two systems he decides to go with, and that can only be good news for QPR.