So near and yet so Derry far

ROY Keane has revealed just how close he came to signing Shaun Derry this summer - and it was very close!

ROY Keane has revealed just how close he came to signing Shaun Derry this summer - and it was very close!

No nonsense midfielder Derry is currently playing a major role in steering QPR towards the Premier League, following his move across London from Crystal Palace in the close-season.

And yet it was so nearly Town, rather than ambitious QPR, who signed Derry.

Keane admitted yesterday that his squad is still lacking a player of Derry’s make-up, an experienced, “streetwise” midfielder who can urge on the team, whether that be on the pitch or in the dressing room.

“Shaun Derry is the sort of player I would like,” revealed Keane.

“He was here (this summer), we wanted to sign him and he wanted to sign, but we never did the deal.

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“The Derrys, the Lee Carsleys (Coventry), the John Eustaces (Watford) from the other night, they are the type of players I think you need to get out of this league, and that’s even though our young players are doing well.

“It’s no surprise to me when I see where QPR are, with people like Shaun Derry in their team. He knows I’m a fan of his anyway, because I had a good chat with him over the summer, and I was disappointed at the time that we didn’t get the deal done.

“But you miss out on deals sometimes, and it’s no good crying over spilt milk,” added Keane.

QPR are top of the Championship and already seven points clear of third-placed Watford, with 32-year-old Derry, renowned for his aggressive style, having been a mainstay of their midfield.

And while Town have been relying on players like teenager Luke Hyam, who have done a good job in the holding role, Keane is aware that sometimes the exuberance of youth is not enough.

“Shaun (Derry) knows the game, and knows the Championship very well,” continued Keane.

“That doesn’t necessarily mean passing, but being streetwise with your team-mates, with the opposition, with the officials. Shaun is good like that.

“He wasn’t the only one we missed out on. His contract was up and I had a chat with him, but the club weren’t prepared to do a deal. But that’s life.

“Every manager would like one or two experienced players, not necessarily what they do on the pitch but what they do in the dressing room before a game and at half-time.

“Maybe our role here is just to help these younger lads to become better players, but whether that can get us out of this league, is a big, big ask.

“But the kids might surprise us. This might be the making of them,” added Keane.

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