Hughes declares Ferdinand ready for action

 

Mark Hughes said that Anton Ferdinand would face a test of mental strength in today's FA Cup fourth-round match against Chelsea. The Queen's Park Rangers manager urged his player to use any abuse directed his way to inspire his level of performance.

Hughes, who played for a number of high-profile clubs including Chelsea, said he had welcomed abuse from opposition supporters, because he was able to use it to improve his game. Now the QPR manager expects Ferdinand to produce the same response. Indeed, if the defender cannot do so, his days at Loftus Road could well be numbered. Hughes, who replaced the sacked Neil Warnock earlier this month, has brought in two new defenders and he has been linked with more, including Christopher Samba of Blackburn.

Ferdinand was the subject of chants by Chelsea supporters during a Champions League match against Genk in October, after it was alleged that the QPR defender was racially abused by Chelsea's captain, John Terry, during a Premier League match at Loftus Road. Similar chants were reported after Chelsea's 0-0 draw at Norwich last weekend. Ferdinand claims to have received threats since the start of the police investigation into the incident involving Terry.

“The more abuse I had the better I played,” Hughes said, recalling his days with Manchester United in particular. “Some players embrace that and I used to love stick, opposition fans having a go at you. I just felt it was great to get out there and irritate them even more by playing well.

”That was always my attitude and there is no reason why it shouldn't be everybody else's. That is part of being a professional footballer. You have to be able to perform when circumstances are not ideal for you. That stands you out as a good player or a player who can't [play] at that level.“

Hughes said he had confidence in Ferdinand. ”I like to think I can judge if a player is ready to play on a Saturday and he's given me no sign that anything is weighing heavily on him,“ he said. ”He wants to play and his team-mates want him to play, he will get support from them and from me so that will be enough and obviously our fans will back him wholeheartedly.

“He has been excellent in the games that he's played. I have spoken to him about it and if I felt it was affecting him adversely in terms of what he could produce on the football field we'd have to have further conversations. But I've never felt that was the situation. He's very positive about the game.”

Meanwhile, Rangers have been linked with a move for the former Liverpool and Sunderland striker Djibril Cissé, currently at Lazio. The Serie A club have made Cissé available for £4m only six months after he joined from Panathinaikos.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Arsenal vs Chelsea: Praise to Arsene Wenger for having the courage of his convictions

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Praise to Wenger for having the courage of his convictions
Major medical journal Lancet under attack for 'extremist hate propaganda' over its coverage of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict

Lancet accused of 'anti-Israel hate propaganda' over coverage of Gaza conflict

Threat to free speech as publishers of renowned medical journal are accused of inciting hatred and violence
General Election 2015: Tories and Lib Dems throw their star names west to grab votes

All noisy on the Lib Dems' western front

The party has deployed its big guns in Cornwall to save its seats there. Simon Usborne heads to the heart of the battle
How Etsy became a crafty little earner: The online market has been floated for £1.2bn, but can craft and capitalism coexist?

How Etsy became a crafty little earner

The online market has been floated for £1.2bn, but can craft and capitalism coexist?
Guy Ritchie is the latest filmmaker to tackle King Arthur - one of our most versatile heroes

King Arthur is inspiring Guy Ritchie

Raluca Radulescu explains why his many permutations - from folk hero to chick-lit hunk - never cease to fascinate
Apple Watch: Will it live up to expectations for the man or woman on the street?

Apple Watch: Will it live up to expectations?

The Apple Watch has apparently sold millions even before its launch tomorrow
Don't fear the artichoke: it's a good cook's staple, with more choice than you'd think

Don't fear the artichoke

Artichokes are scary - they've got spikes and hairy bits, and British cooks tend to give them a wide berth. But they're an essential and delicious part of Italian cuisine
11 best men's socks

11 best men's socks

Make a statement with your accessories, starting from the bottom up
Paul Scholes column: Eden Hazard would be my Player of the Year – but I wonder if he has that appetite for goals of Messi or Ronaldo

Paul Scholes column

Hazard would be my Player of the Year – but I wonder if he has that appetite for goals of Messi or Ronaldo
Frank Warren: Tyson Fury will be closely watching Wladimir Klitschko... when he wins it'll be time to do a deal

Frank Warren's Ringside

Tyson Fury will be closely watching Wladimir Klitschko... when he wins it'll be time to do a deal
London Marathon 2015: Kenya's brothers in arms Wilson Kipsang and Dennis Kimetto ready to take on world

Kenya's brothers in arms take on world

Last year Wilson Kipsang had his marathon record taken off him by training partner and friend Dennis Kimetto. They talk about facing off in the London Marathon
Natalie Bennett interview: I've lost track of the last time I saw my Dad but it's not because I refuse to fly

Natalie Bennett interview: I've lost track of the last time I saw my Dad

Green leader prefers to stay clear of her 'painful' family memories but is more open about 'utterly unreasonable' personal attacks
Syria conflict: Khorasan return with a fresh influx of fighters awaiting the order to start 'shooting the birds'

Khorasan is back in Syria

America said these al-Qaeda militants were bombed out of the country last year - but Kim Sengupta hears a different story
General Election 2015: Is William Cash the man to woo Warwickshire North for Ukip?

On the campaign trail with Ukip

Is William Cash the man to woo Warwickshire North?
Four rival Robin Hood movies get Hollywood go-head - and Friar Tuck will become a superhero

Expect a rush on men's tights

Studios line up four Robin Hoods productions