Mike Rigg to play pivotal role as QPR place emphasis on youth

New technical director's brief is to oversee player acquisition at all ages and nurture local talent

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The Independent Online

The Queen's Park Rangers chairman, Tony Fernandes, has hailed the appointment of the club's new technical director, Mike Rigg, as one of the most important since he took over at Loftus Road.

The 43-year-old Rigg has held a similar role at Manchester City since June 2008, but has opted to leave the position in order to link up with QPR and work once more with the manager Mark Hughes, whom he worked alongside at City and Blackburn Rovers and with the Welsh national team. Rigg's prime role will be to oversee player acquisition at all ages and Fernandes is a keen believer in nurturing young, local talent.

"He is, along with Mark [Hughes], the most important appointment I will make as chairman of QPR," Fernandes said. "I said when I arrived that I wanted to focus on the youth set-up and I believe the appointment of Mike is key. We want players with QPR in their blood – I believe you can't have a proper club unless you have the right infrastructure in place, which starts at the youth levels.

"To be successful we need to have a mix of players we have brought in with players who come through the ranks. That is why we all believe it is so critical that we produce players in the youth teams and in the reserve team that Mark can use in the future."

Rigg earlier revealed how much he wanted to be part of the project being undertaken by Hughes and Fernandes as they look to establish QPR in the Premier League. "I am very pleased to be here," he said. "When I sat down with the owners and Mark recently, they sold the project at Queen's Park Rangers to me – I see where they want to take the club and it is something I want to be a part of.

"I have worked with Mark in a number of different roles so I have a very good understanding of what he wants and what he needs. Player acquisition is a big part of football and it is where an enormous amount of investment is made. That's where we must get it right."

With Fernandes hiring key backroom staff and supplying his manager with funds, he will be desperate for the club to remain in the top flight. They are three points above the bottom three, in 16th place. The situation would be much worse if not for a run of four successive home wins, culminating in a 1-0 victory over Tottenham Hotspur on Saturday. The midfielder Joey Barton believes that win could prove huge.

Barton said: "We've been magnificent at home recently and that's all credit to the lads. Not just the lads that played on Saturday, but all those in the camp because it takes real resolve and resilience to go and play the top sides. It's testament to the lads that we've managed to beat another of the big, big clubs.

"We dug in, put in the hard yards and for the last quarter of an hour or so – when we were down to 10 men – worked tirelessly to get a massive three points for this football club."

QPR face a tough trip to Chelsea on Sunday before welcoming Stoke City to Loftus Road and making a final-day trip to Hughes' and Rigg's former employers, title-chasing Manchester City.

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