Why Luke Woolfenden could be a smashing signing for QPR
According to claims from Ipswich site TWTD, QPR are keeping close tabs on Ipswich Town defender Luke Woolfenden, who has made eyeballs turn with his blistering run of form at Portman Road this season.
The 21-year-old, who is under contract until the summer of 2022, has made a fine start to the campaign for the Tractor Boys in the League One, impressing consistently at the heart of the defence.
The report doesn’t throw light on whether QPR are watching him with a view to a potential transfer in January but the youngster’s talent and potential have drawn admiring glances from the scouts.
Born in Ipswich, Woolfenden joined Ipswitch Town’s academy as a schoolboy aged 11 back in 2009 before coming through the ranks to establish himself as a full academy player for the Tractor Boys in July 2015.
The central defender’s rapid progress across various age-group levels paved the way for a senior breakthrough during Ipswich’s 2017-18 campaign in the Championship and Woolfenden made his professional bow for the club against Luton Town in a League Cup tie.
Having only played a bit-part role under Mick McCarthy in his debut season, the 21-year-old was loaned out to National League side Bromley for the second half of the 2017-18 campaign.
That was followed by an entire season on loan at Swindon Town and Woolfenden proved his worth in the League Two as Ipswich Town suffered relegation from the Championship at the end of the 2018-19 season.
The centre-back has made a seamless transition to the third-tier this term, establishing himself as one of the mainstays of Ipswich Town’s backline under Paul Lambert.
The Tractor Boys currently find themselves in the mix for automatic promotion in the League One and Luke Woolfenden has been instrumental in the club’s promising start to the campaign, starting 13 out of the first 17 fixtures so far.
Woolfenden’s excellent start to the season at Portman Road is well backed up by the numbers. As per WhoScored, the 21-year-old has averaged a staggering 2.1 tackles, 2.4 interceptions, 5.8 clearances 3.2 long balls and 4.4 aerial duels per game in the League One this term.
A closer look at his stats reveals that the centre-back has successfully completed 27 out of his attempted 30 tackles, which amounts to an eye-watering percentage of 90, while also winning 57 out of a possible 87 duels in the air (65.51%).
Indeed, those make for some impressive readings on paper and even more so for a centre-back aged 21.
QPR were soaring high, following a bright start to their campaign in the Championship under Mark Warburton. However, a winless run of seven games, including four defeats, has brought them crashing down to 16th in the standings, six points adrift of the playoff spots.
Returns of 28 goals scored and 37 conceded in the process clearly reveal that QPR haven’t been short of attacking firepower but it is their vulnerability at the back that is haunting them.
They roped in the likes of Yoann Barbet, Lee Wallace and Todd Kane to bolster their defensive unit in the summer but it is a no-brainer that Warburton will need to find a way to improve on that defensive record if he is to guide the club back into the top-six.
The likes of Grant Hall, Toni Leistner and Barbet have all blown hot and cold. While someone like Luke Woolfenden doesn’t have enough Championship experience to come through the door as an instant upgrade, the 21-year-old has the potential to reach great heights in his career.
To that end, QPR completing a move for the Ipswich Town starlet would go a long way towards increasing competition for places at the back. At 21, Woolfenden has plenty of time left on his side to make significant adjustments to his game to make the step up to the Championship.
Yes, he is still a work in progress but QPR could have a gem on their hands if the Ipswich-born starlet goes on to fulfil his promise in the years to come.
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All in all, QPR’s interest in Luke Woolfenden certainly strikes the right chords and this looks like a move that could pay off handsomely for the West London outfit.