Analysis - Les Ferdinand on the promoted teams
Wed 09 August 2017, 15:15|Tottenham Hotspur
Spurs fan and legendary former striker Les Ferdinand has been Director of Football at QPR since 2015 - so who better to take a look at the promoted teams we'll face in the Premier League in 2017-18?
Les - who turned 50 in December - has seen it all in his football career, the non-league star who made the grade and went on to play for England.
Now he's helping look after QPR's fortunes, the club where he made his name in the early 1990s - 80 league goals in 160 games - and knows the Championship inside-out.
"I would say, in today’s football, any club promoted from the Championship into the Premier League, I think it has to be about survival," said Les, who scored 39 goals in 149 matches in an injury-ravaged spell at Spurs between 1997-2002.
"That will be the be all and end all for all three promoted clubs, survival and then build from there.
"I don’t think they will think ‘let’s finish in the top 10’, they will be thinking survival. It will be a tough ride for them in the Premier League, it’s tough, but it’s about how quickly they all adapt."
Les helped fire Newcastle to successive runners-up spots in the Premier League in 1995-96/1996-1997 - 50 goals in 84 appearances - and will take a closer look at our opening weekend opponents 'The Toon' in our 'five points' feature later this week.
Below: Dwight Gayle
Last season: Promoted as champions, 94 points
Manager: Rafa Benitez
Top scorer (league): Dwight Gayle, 23 goals
On the boss: "Rafa is the key. He wants to play on the front foot and always fields an attacking team. They were everyone’s
favourites to go straight back up after relegation last season, made good signings - what I would call Premier League signings in the Championship - and they were a well-organised, well-drilled side under Rafa."
Playing style: "As I said, they are well-drilled, well-organised and they all know their roles in the team under Rafa. There isn’t a single player in that 11 or squad of 18 who will go out there no knowing what Rafa exactly requires from him."
Player to watch: "It’s a massive season for striker Dwight Gayle because we’ve seen him score goals in the Championship now, but he didn’t quite get that opportunity when he was in the Premier League at Palace, although when he did play, he was a danger. He will get the opportunity now to show his true credentials in the Premier League."
Below: Izzy Brown
BRIGHTON & HOVE ALBION
Last season: Runners-up, 93 points
Manager: Chris Hughton
Top scorer (league): Glenn Murray, 20 goals
On the boss: "I’m delighted for Chris, so pleased for him. He’s put in so much hard work there. They were on the brink of promotion the season before but didn’t quite make it, but did it last season and were just unfortunate they didn’t go up as champions. They deserved it."
Playing style: "Again, well-organised as you’d expect from Chris and he stuck to his guns, believed in the 4-4-2 system where most teams are going a bit different in terms of formations, believed in his players and their ability and they were fantastic."
Player to watch: "Izzy Brown is there now after a great second half of the season at Huddersfield, a coup for them. He has big
Lewis Dunk at the back, a lot of people were talking about him in terms of the Premier League, so it will be interesting to see how he gets on this season. It’s another level in the Premier League for these defenders and it will be a test for them, let’s see how they do."
Below: Rajiv van La Parra
Last season: Fifth place, 81 points, promoted via play-offs
Manager: David Wagner
Top scorer (league): Elias Kachunga, 12 goals
On the boss: "David Wagner is a real man-manager and it seems the players enjoy playing for him. He took the Championship by storm last season, he was excellent and it will be interesting to watch him pit his wits against the big boys in the Premier League."
Playing style: "Huddersfield play a really good brand of football under a manager who prefers that high press, high-tempo game. There are a few German managers in the country now who play that way, obviously including Klopp at Liverpool. They are also well-drilled. Like Rafa, he knows exactly what he wants from his players."
Player to watch: "Aaron Mooy was excellent, on loan from City, they’ve made him a permanent signing now. Rajiv van La Parra also impressed - they have some exceptional players. I think Izzy Brown will be a massive miss for them though, he was fantasic in the second half of the season and he's now at Brighton."