Unsung Hero: The defender who helped kickstart QPR comeback against Wigan – Opinion
There may have been a trio of goalscorers to congratulate as QPR came from behind to defeat Wigan Athletic at the weekend, but the input of left-back Ryan Manning may have slipped under the radar on Saturday afternoon.
Goals from Nahki Wells, Eberechi Eze and Jordan Hugill sealed a terrific comeback victory for the Hoops, with Mark Warburton’s side grabbing their first win at the Kiyan Prince Foundation Stadium this season.
The result lifts the R’s into the top half of the Championship table, and will be the perfect tonic for the squad ahead of another packed week – with the visit of Portsmouth to come on Wednesday in the Carabao Cup.
But while the likes of Wells and Eze get their names up in lights for their goalscoring exploits at the weekend, there are plenty of reasons to argue that the input of Manning may have gone undervalued following QPR’s impressive second-half performance.
After all, it was Manning’s cross moments after the interval that got the ball rolling for the team’s comeback after going behind inside two minutes to Cedric Kipre’s opener.
His cross-field ball was not dealt with by the Wigan defence, allowing Wells to slot home – and kickstart the winning performance that was to come.
Manning also recorded a game-high total of four tackles throughout the match (per WhoScored), further reiterating his value to a Hoops defence that had conceded three just days earlier at home to Swansea.
And all this from a player who continues to deputise for the injured Lee Wallace – with Manning, a midfielder by trade, filling in while the former Rangers man nears full fitness following his free transfer this summer.
So considering his effect on the game for a player essentially playing out of position, the performance of Manning at the weekend should perhaps get more credit than it would otherwise receive.
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