Adel Taarabt was hailed by both Harry Redknapp, his manager, and Armand Traoré, his team-mate, for the match-winning performance against Fulham that gave Queen's Park Rangers their overdue first win of the season. The Moroccan has been too much of an individualist in the past but on Saturday gave a complete performance, passing incisively and working hard as well as scoring both goals in the 2-1 victory.
Redknapp described Taarabt variously as "a fruitcake", "hard work" and "temperamental", but admitted: "He's like Paolo Di Canio, he can do things that nobody else can do. He nutmegs people and he goes past two or three and they can't get the ball off him.
"But we always felt that when he was at Tottenham. I never wanted to let him go. I was scared to. But in the end Daniel [Levy, the Tottenham chairman] said, 'Look, if he's not going to play, we might as well sell him and get a big sell-on fee'. And he's grown up a bit now, he's better than he was."
Traoré has a longer view. "I've known Adel since I was 14, 15," the former Arsenal left-back said. "He was a catastrophe. We used to play in the French national team and he was just nutmegging the same guy for maybe four or five times. The manager used to tell him, 'If you don't give the ball, you come off'. And he didn't care. He was bringing us penalties, scoring goals.
"He's definitely maturing. We see goals in training that no one has seen. He has the ability to go a lot further."
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