When choosing a captain, a manager looks for a cool head, a player who will keep his composure and set an example for the rest. He looks for experience, someone who has been there, done that and some more. They look for a team-player, who puts the side first and is respected by his teammates.
They do not look for a temperamental 21-year-old who doesn’t like to share the ball.
Neil Warnock chose to give QPR’s mercurial Moroccan, Adel Taarabt, the captaincy and things are going rather well. Yesterday he single-handedly demolished Swansea. Taarabt is a wonderful talent but also a bit of a pain. His troublesome personality made it an easier decision for Harry Redknapp to let QPR have a player once hyped as the new Zidane.
Many managers would have tried the disciplinarian route: try to change Taarabt through punishment. Drop him from the team, criticize him in public. He would not have hung around Loftus Road for long.
Neil Warnock, despite being a famous disciplinarian, took the opposite course. He ignores Taarabt’s tantrums. An angry reaction to being substituted against Ipswich brought this reponse from Warnock:
“Next week, he’ll be ripping his shirt off and throwing it at me. But we’ll let him have his moments in exchange for what he brings to the team.”
Instead he smothers him in constant praise. And by giving him the captain’s armband, he gives Taarabt what he needs most; the feeling that he is the most important man at Loftus Road.
Some might be unimpressed by this ego-massaging. QPR fans are extremely grateful.