BY NICK KITUNO
Mark Warburton has high hopes for George Thomas next year as the midfielder seeks to finally kickstart his Queens Park Rangers career after having been hampered by injury this season.
The 24-year-old, who joined QPR on a free transfer last summer, came off the bench to assist their fourth goal in a 4-1 win over Sheffield Wednesday.
Thomas started Rangers’ first three Championship games this campaign before a thigh injury ruled him out until November. He then came on as a substitute in the 2-1 defeat at Brentford but has only made six appearances since then, all of which have come from the bench.
While Warburton believes the Wales international has been “playing catch-up” since being sidelined, he is hopeful of more to come as Thomas fights to regain his match sharpness.
He said: “I really have a lot of respect for George. He had that really frustrating [injury]. He played earlier in the season, got that injury, and it was worse than people realised – or anyone had realised – at the start and he was out for long, long periods.
“He’s been playing catch-up, really, throughout the season and then he got another little niggling injury. We had a B team game against Watford a couple of weeks back, he was very, very good. He has great forward runs, good energy, good quality on the ball and you saw that today.
“Straight away, he came on and made that long, forward run on the right-hand side. He began on the left-hand side but his timing is good, his energy is good, his quality is good – he’ll be a lot better next season.
“You’re right, it’s been frustrating for him [this season], but very often the players are better in their second season, when they get accustomed to it and they have the chance for a good pre-season.
“I’m excited to see George in the remaining games, and next year of course, but he’s a player that deserves a lot of respect.”
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