ANTON Ferdinand has taken a swipe at Steve Bruce, suggesting the Sunderland manager did not allow him to fulfil his potential while at the Stadium of Light.
Ferdinand did not enjoy an easy relationship with Bruce, who was never fully convinced about a defender who struggled to string together consistent performances in red and white.
The pair had a serious bust-up a year ago which appeared to have spelled the end for the centre-back.
But he won his place back and had started the season in good form before his deadline day move to Loftus Road. Ferdinand has also revealed that Ukrainian side Dnipro were interested in him.
Ferdinand revealed that the decision not to renew his contract – which had less than one year to run – made his mind up about a move to West London.
“The last two years have been full of ups and downs, as everyone knows, with the manager at Sunderland,” said Ferdinand, whose relationship with Bruce hit rock-bottom a year ago when a furious training-ground argument almost led to him being sold.
“In some ways, I have to thank him, because he’s turned me from a boy into a man.
“Coming back to London, it’s a new me. I feel different to how I was when I left London four years ago, and I’m here to enjoy my football.”
The 26-year-old added: “I feel I haven’t had the chance to prove my potential in the last couple of years.
“That’s a chapter that’s closed in my book now and there’s a new chapter open.
“Hopefully, I will get the opportunity to do it and, if I do, then I’m confident in my ability that I’ll show people that I’m not just someone with potential, but someone who can carry out their potential.”
Ferdinand, who also made headlines for the wrong reasons while at Upton Park, will certainly be given the benefit of the doubt by QPR, where his surname is part of the club’s folklore.
The defender’s uncle Les is a Rangers legend, something of which Ferdinand was reminded just last week.
“When we trained last Thursday at Loftus Road, I was walking down the tunnel and I looked to the right and saw a picture, an old-school picture, of him playing for QPR and it brought back memories,” said Ferdinand, whose brother Rio also spent time at the club.
“When Rio was here as a schoolboy, we used to come to watch Les play here.”
The latter’s goalscoring exploits earned him the moniker ’Sir Les’, and his nephew, who made his debut in Monday’s goalless Barclays Premier League draw against Newcastle, said: “It’d be welcomed to be called ’Sir Anton’.
“I’ve got a long time to go. I’ve only played one game and I’m looking forward to my future.” Older brother Rio also played a crucial part in Anton’s move as the latter rejected a switch to Ukrainian side Dnipro.
“I’m not someone that goes somewhere just because the money’s right,” Ferdinand said.
“But then this opportunity came around and it was something that definitely excited me.
“I spoke to Rio about it and I said what the manager had said to me. And he said, ‘If that was me, I would run to QPR’.
“He’s always wanted me to do well – that’s the type of relationship we have. He wants me to do better than him.”
Ferdinand was one of several high-profile recruits to join npower Championship-winners QPR in a manic final few days of the transfer window.