QPR director of football Les Ferdinand has stepped down from the role.

Ferdinand, 56, spent eight years as a player at the club and returned to Loftus Road in 2014, initially as head of football operations.

QPR were relegated from the Premier League in 2015 and have spent the last eight years in the Championship, narrowly avoiding relegation last season.

Ferdinand told the club’s official website: “This has not been an easy decision. My life is football, I love football and I want to stay in football, but I do feel this is the right time for me to step down from my position here.

“Everyone knows how special Queens Park Rangers is to me and it has been a privilege to be back at the club.

“There have been challenging times and I have had to make some very difficult decisions but every decision I have made has been with the best interests of the club at heart.”

QPR appointed Gareth Ainsworth as head coach in February after sacking Neil Critchley, who lasted just 12 games in the role.

Critchley had replaced Michael Beale, who left Loftus Road in November to become Rangers manager having guided QPR to seventh in the table.

QPR chairman Amit Bhatia added: “In an industry where individuals with genuine authenticity and integrity appear to be scarce, Les’ sincerity and honesty have always set him apart, and have made him so special and so valued by the board.”

Erling Haaland can be the "cutting edge" that helps Manchester City finally win the Champions League, so says Les Ferdinand.

Haaland has enjoyed a record-breaking first season at City, smashing past the Premier League single-season goals mark of 34, which had been shared by Andy Cole and Alan Shearer since the mid-1990s.

But it is in UEFA's flagship club competition where the striker has further underlined his superb form, with 12 goals so far en route to City's semi-final tie with Real Madrid.

Pep Guardiola's side have still not won the biggest prize in club football under his watch, but Ferdinand believes with Haaland spearheading their attack, now might finally be the time to end their wait.

"He comes alive in the Champions League," Ferdinand told Stats Perform. "I'm not saying he doesn't play well in the other games, but it's almost like he's desperate to win the Champions League.

"Manchester City are desperate to win that Champions League [title], and he looks like he could be the cutting edge they've needed for the last few years in that competition.

"All the best players in the world come calling when it's needed. They're able to produce. You talk about [Cristiano] Ronaldo or [Lionel] Messi, in the big games, they came to the fore.

"I think you've seen [that] with Haaland. There are a lot of centre-forwards out there who will score goals, [especially] when the team's up.

"But he scores that first, all-important goal as well. That's what is always majorly important for a team."

Despite his free-scoring form, Haaland faced accusations earlier in the season of weakening City, though Ferdinand scoffed at the suggestion.

"I know part of the reason for signing Haaland was to try and have a really good assault on the Champions League," he added.

"I think that's where they fell short in terms of a centre-forward.

"But for someone that is going to score over 50-odd goals or 60-odd goals in all competitions, it's hard to say that he's weakened Manchester City."

City face Madrid at Santiago Bernabeu on Tuesday, before welcoming Los Blancos to the Etihad Stadium for the second leg on May 17.

It is a repeat of last season's semi-final, in which City missed multiple chances to put the tie to bed before paying the price in a thrilling second leg.

Erling Haaland must consistently deliver over the coming years to be considered a Premier League great, so says Les Ferdinand.

Haaland scored City's second goal in a 3-0 win over West Ham on Wednesday, taking his total for the season to 51 across all competitions.

In the top flight alone, Haaland has now netted 35 times, seeing him break the Premier League record of 34, which had been held by Alan Shearer and Andrew Cole, albeit that duo hit those tallies over the course of a 42-game season.

According to Opta, Haaland's league goals have come from an xG of 26, showing the brilliance of his finishing. Essentially, he has scored nine more goals than would have been anticipated given the quality of chances he has been provided with and the position from which he has been shooting.

According to Ferdinand, the next challenge for Haaland will be replicating his extraordinary form in seasons to come.

"It's a bit early to say as these guys did it consistently over the years," Ferdinand told Stats Perform.

"Haaland has done it this season and he's been phenomenal this season, but he'll get judged over what he does over the next X amount of years.

"I think a lot of strikers will say, you can have an exceptional year but can you repeat it, can you repeat it and can you repeat it?

"It looks like he can but until he's done it, it's hard to put him in that category of those great strikers. Although he's having an absolutely phenomenal season this year."

Asked what makes Haaland so special, Ferdinand said: "His pace, his power, his ability to score off his left foot, right foot, and head.

"You know, I always used to say Harry Kane, and so sorry to keep going back to Harry Kane but he's current. I used to say he's the complete centre-forward and Haaland is fast becoming that."

And while Ferdinand is wary of labelling the Norwegian a Premier League great just yet, he sees no reason why the 22-year-old will not fulfil his potential.

"I think in the side that he's playing in, if you looked at him from his [Borussia] Dortmund days, do you think he's improved from there? I think he has," Ferdinand added.

"I think with the manager and the coaching staff that they've got at Man City and the players that he's playing with at the moment, you can't not improve. I think the better quality of the player you play with, the better you become.

"It'll certainly raise the bar for him. Because, as a centre-forward, once you've scored 20 goals the next season, you want to score 22, 24 or 25.

"You want to score as many as you can so [now] he's broken the record of 34 he'll be looking to beat the record that he sets. Then that's the benchmark for people to try and get to."

Indeed, Ferdinand does not feel Haaland will find matters more difficult next season.

"Looking at the way he plays, his attributes, and the team that he's playing for, no. I really don't," he said.

When it came to offering advice on how defenders might stop Haaland, Ferdinand only had one idea.

"Kick him early doors, that's what used to happen," he quipped. "I mean, you can't do that anymore.

"You’ve got to find a way, but like I said it's so difficult because you're playing against a City side where, okay Haaland is scoring all of these goals but there are goals throughout that team. So you say, 'Right let's go man-to-man on him.' Then you're leaving the door open for someone else to get in too, so he's going to be so, so hard to stop."

The next target in Haaland's sights is Ron Davies' 37-goal haul from the 1966-67 campaign.

Davies was the last player to net more than Haaland in a single season in the English top flight.

Rio Ferdinand was "delighted" to be named among 15 nominees for the Premier League Hall of Fame.

Introduced in 2021, the Hall of Fame has inducted eight players in each of the past two years, adding managerial greats Alex Ferguson and Arsene Wenger on Wednesday.

Voting for the latest round of player inductees has begun, with greats nominated from across the last 30 years of the Premier League.

The 2023 class of inductees is dominated by defenders, including former Arsenal captain Tony Adams, ex-Chelsea skipper John Terry and Manchester United stalwarts Ferdinand and Gary Neville.

Former Chelsea and Arsenal duo Petr Cech and Ashley Cole are also nominated, along with ex-United defender Nemanja Vidic.

Midfielders Michael Carrick and Yaya Toure represent both sides of Manchester, with strikers Andy Cole, Les Ferdinand, Robbie Fowler and Michael Owen completing the list.

Ferdinand wrote on Twitter: "Delighted to be nominated again on the #PLHallOfFame. Few decent CBs [centre-backs] listed on the nominees."

The former England captain will be hoping it is third time lucky, having also been among the nominees in 2021 and 2022.

Fans can vote for three players they believe should be inducted, with voting open until 6pm BST on Monday, April 10.

Only three players will take their place among the greats this time around.

The shortlist has been reduced from 25 names previously to 15 and players are only eligible if their retirement was confirmed before 1 January 2023.

In order to be eligible, players must have made at least 250 Premier League appearances or made 200 league appearances for a single club, been selected in any Team of the Decade or 20-year Anniversary teams, won a Golden Boot or Golden Glove, been voted Player of the Season, won three titles or scored 100 goals or registered 100 clean sheets.

2023 nominees: Tony Adams, Sol Campbell, Michael Carrick, Petr Cech, Andy Cole, Ashley Cole, Jermain Defoe, Les Ferdinand, Rio Ferdinand, Robbie Fowler, Gary Neville, Michael Owen, John Terry, Yaya Toure, Nemanja Vidic.

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