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Jake Clarke-Salter exclusive: Saving QPR; finding form; those Palace & Wolves rumours

“It's a great, great feeling to be voted by my teammates. I'm thankful for that and just happy in the way the season's gone in the end...

It has been a season to remember for Queens Park Rangers"defender Jake Clarke-Salter and for various reasons. As a club, it has been a tough season for “The Hoops", but on a personal level Clarke-Salter has performed strong enough for his team mates to vote him “Players Player of the Season". But while he's reluctant to venture a guess as to whether he's ever played better - “that's a question for the gaffer" – he's happy to offer an explanation as to why he has reached this level in such a topsy turvy season.

“I've had no real injuries this season and I think this is the most games I've played in consecutive Championship seasons. I always feel I can contribute well, and I've strung a lot of games together consistently and been able to build a good partnership as well alongside Steve Cook," Jake tells

Incidentally, Cook was voted Fans Player of the Season at QPR, which a modest Clarke-Salter is fully behind.

“I'm happy for him and hopefully he can continue with us next season."

Premier League interest

This is the first time Jake Clarke-Salter has played more than 30 league games in a season, and the level he's reached has led to bigger clubs sniffing around the former Chelsea youngster. Apparently, Crystal Palace, Wolverhampton and Celtic are all showing interest and while Clarke-Salter denies being aware of the rumours – “I don't have Twitter!" – he does acknowledge it's a nice feeling.

“I guess you can look at it in a positive way, but for me, this season was just about survival. I wanted to make sure that the club didn't go down. That was the main focus in my mind."

Queens Park Rangers secured another season in the Championship with a fantastic 4-0 home win against Leeds United, but Salter-Clarke makes no mention of celebrations after the landmark result, instead focusing on the relief it brought.

“Obviously it was a good performance and a good win which everyone was really happy about. To win a game in that fashion against a team of this quality was amazing," Clarke-Salter says about a result which got Loftus Road rocking.

However, it wasn't the first time this season QPR have managed to put a stop to one of the big sides in the league. They also beat Leicester and drew with Ipswich away, while managing draws with West Bromwich and Norwich. All teams inside the playoff places.

“Obviously, I'm aware of the record as well. We're quite good against teams in the top half of the table and struggle with teams around us. That's something we can look at to try and improve on. It's exciting times for the club and hopefully we can just keep progressing as a team in the new season."

A disappointing season

The potential for improvement certainly seems in place as QPR are placed 10th in the table, when isolating results only after Marti Cifuentes took over the manager's seat.

“I think you've got to give a massive credit to the gaffer and his staff. Since he's come in, we've had some clear ideas and the players have taken it to a step up. He came in and instilled belief that we are a good team and just worked to get our confidence back.

“It was clear to see our confidence was damaged at the start. At the end of the day, it's been a disappointing season for us, we didn't want to be fighting relegation but from where we were to now, we can be happy with how it's finished," states Jake Clarke-Salter who previously worked with managers like Mark Robins at Coventry, so where does Cifuentes rank?

“Every manager I've played for is different. But Marti is definitely up there for me. He's a really nice guy, but also a very good coach. You can see that on the pitch. Defensively, we're structured and we're creating a lot more opportunities, so I can't give him enough compliments to what he's done this season," says Clarke-Salter who's enjoyed testing himself against proven top strikers like Jamie Vardy.

“He's a great player, a former England international, and he's scored so many goals in his career. I always like to test myself against the players of this quality."

Soon Clarke-Salter might be required to test his ability against Premier League players consistently, but for now, he's enjoying life at Queens Park Rangers. And with a Players Player of the Year to show for it.

Hoops and Dreams: Loftus Road Memories in association with CopyBet

CopyBet is the official betting partner of Queens Park Rangers FC. Visit

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Jacob Hansen


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