Why did Spurs loan Tom Carroll to Queens Park Rangers?

Clive Rose

Like many people on my twitter timeline, I was not thrilled to hear that the English Xavi, who had been linked with more appealing loans to Premier League newcomers Crystal Palace and Dutch giants Ajax, would be heading on loan to Queens Park Rangers in the Championship this year.

Why would Spurs send their number one prospect to QPR when they could have sent him to Crystal Palace or Ajax or kept him with the first team and played him in Cup games? I can think of a few reasons:

The interest from Palace and Ajax was not as real as the press would have us believe. The media gets a lot of stuff wrong. If the media got everything right, Gareth Bale would have been sold 100 times already and we would have signed Benteke instead of Soldado. This is something that should not surprise any of us. At all. It's possible neither club was interested enough in Carroll to the point that he could be assured game time. It's also possible neither club had any interest whatsoever and the media is full of shit.

Carroll wouldn't get any time in cup games with Spurs. Last season, Carroll started four cup games for Spurs, even though (a) Spurs played a lot of Cup games, having reached the quarter finals of the Europa League and (b) Spurs had very little in the way of quality midfield depth after Sandro's injury. With the return of Sandro, the additions of Paulinho, Etienne Capoue, Christian Eriksen, and Erik Lamela, and the presence of Mousa Dembele, Lewis Holtby, and Gylfi Sigurdsson, Spurs are pretty well stocked in central midfield this season. Not all of these players will be able to start Premier League games, which means most, if not all, will start in Cup games. If he stayed this season, Carroll's opportunities at Spurs would be even morel limited than they were last year.

AVG hates Tom Carroll and hopes his development is stunted in the Championship. This doesn't seem very likely to me, which means that:

Spurs' management thinks that Queens Park Rangers is the best option for Tom Carroll's development. QPR could be a good option for Carroll's development for several reasons:

  1. Harry Redknapp enjoys attacking football and won't hesitate to put a good passer in the line-up, even if he's not as powerful as opposing central midfielders. At Spurs, Redknapp had no problem playing Luka Modric and Rafael van der Vaart together in midfield and likely would have no problem with Carroll's small stature.
  2. Redknapp isn't afraid to show faith in loanees. Redknapp could have played Shaun Wright-Philips or Junior Hoilett last year, but he opted for Andros Townsend, even though Townsend would be leaving the team at the end of the season. Not every manager would do the same.
  3. Playing for QPR this season may be more similar to playing for Spurs than playing for Palace would be. On the face of it, this doesn't make sense; Palace are in the Premier League while QPR are in the Championship. A different picture emerges, however, when you consider the respective places in the table that each team occupies. Crystal Palace will be in a relegation scrap all season and are current favorites for relegation. Though the Premier League season is only three games in, they currently average 47% possession. In contrast, Queens Park Rangers are favorites for promotion. They average 57% of possession and will be the technically superior team in almost every match they play this year. Their playing style will, therefore, mirror Spurs' much better than Palace's style would. For Carroll, that means learning to unlock packed defenses rather than learning the art of last ditch defending, as he would do at Palace.

In short, Spurs loaned Carroll to Queens Park Rangers because it's the best option for his development. Seems like Tom is pretty excited about it, too.

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