AMIDST all the excitement of seven new signings over the summer, the arrival of Glyn Hodges has gone largely unnoticed.
But don’t under-estimate his importance in the ever-increasing growth and expansion of Queens Park Rangers Football Club.
Hodges, who made more than 500 professional appearances in a playing career that spanned nearly 20 years, has been brought in by Mark Hughes as Head of Coaching and Coach Education.
“I am involved in the development of the youth players,” Hodges explained to www.qpr.co.uk.
“With the new EPPP (Elite Player Performance Plan) ruling which the Premier League has set in place, my role is to set syllabuses and footballing philosophies.
“This goes from the reserves and under 21s right through to the under 6s, working with the coaches and making sure the coaching programme is up to standard.”
Having been a part of Hughes’s coaching staff with Wales, Blackburn, Manchester City and Fulham, Hodges knows how the manager works. He believes this is crucial to success.
“It’s hugely beneficial,” he added.
“Underneath Mark (Hughes), Bow (Mark Bowen), Eddie (Niedzwiecki), and Kevin (Hitchcock), I know exactly what the manager wants, what the requirements are, and I understand the animal we are working with.
“It is my job to make sure that message gets across to all the coaches. If we get everything in synch, QPR can go places.”
As for Hodges himself, his arrival at Loftus Road comes 25 years after the club first showed an interest in him!
“It is really exciting to be here,” he said. “I actually spoke to Jim Smith in 1987 about joining as a player from Wimbledon.
“It has always been a good club with a great tradition of playing football. There were some great players here over the years and I actually played with four or five of the ‘dream team’ from the 70s – I am showing my age now!”
The under 21 group, which will compete in the Professional Development League Two (South) this season, will represent a major component of Hodges’ role at the club.
“The importance of the under 21 group is massive,” he added. “You can have all sorts of conundrums which this group looks after.
“You are permitted three over-aged players so you can have senior players who are perhaps not in favour, or ones that are injured and working their way back to fitness; you’ve got young players who are trying to bridge the gap between youth and first team; and you’ve got under 18 players who are looking to push into the group as well.
“So there’s a whole spectrum of players it caters for and, ultimately, it helps to create a path into the first team so it is very important.”