Ebere Eze, Bright Osayi-Samuel, Kevin Gallen, Raheem Sterling – uncovering hidden gems is nothing new to Queens Park Rangers with attacking midfielder Ilias Chair the latest to come off the production line.
The 23-year-old has lit up the Championship so far this season, scoring three times in the last two league games as QPR have made an impressive start to the 2021/22 campaign.
The Hoops currently find themselves sixth in the table after eleven games – twelve places above where they were at the same point last season with much of the improvement down to a smart recruitment policy over the past year.
But not only have the arrivals of the likes of Stefan Johansen, Charlie Austin and Andre Gray added quality and expertise, it has brought out the best in the players already at the club with Chair the most obvious example.
With the additional quality around him, the Moroccan has taken his game to the next level and is on course to surpass his league returns of last season (eight goals and four assists) having already scored four times and having one assist to his name.
Chair has thrived under the guidance of manager Mark Warburton and it is no surprise he is currently the overall top scorer during the 59-year-old’s tenure at the club.
What makes Chair particularly special is the midfielder is a creative enigma on the pitch, constantly looking to create problems for opposition defence through a combination of different approaches, whether a mazy run or a well-spotted pass.
On Chair’s ever expanding attacking artillery, Mark Warburton said: “You can’t be a one-trick pony in the position he (Chair) plays, just dropping a shoulder and going.
“Opposing players would pick up on that – players will study that and see what you do.
“He’s recognising that – recognising where he can get on the ball, where he can half-turn and hurt the opposition.
“Then it’s about trusting and honing that technique, which he does every day when he trains.”
While others before him have had their time to shine, Chair has always been a diamond in the rough, even going out on loan to Stevenage back in 2018/19 in his quest to become polished and refined.
Since his return he has not looked back and is starting to stand out and shine in his own right while also being acutely aware he still has plenty of work to do.
“I need to stay consistent. If I’m not staying consistent then what’s the point?,” Chair recently told West London Sport.
“I’m going out there trying to be an eight or nine out of 10 every game. Obviously that’s not always possible and if it’s not then work hard for the team.
“I’m not the finished article yet. I still need to improve and that’s what I’m trying to do. I’m just looking to improve every single day and keep my feet on the ground.”
Last month’s Carabao Cup win against Everton felt like another milestone as the player more than held his own, claiming an all important assist as QPR knocked the Premier League side out of the competition.
Stationed in the attacking three alongside Chris Willock and Charlie Austin, Chair did not look out of place against the likes of Mason Holgate, Lucas Digne and Abdoulaye Doucoure.
If there were any doubts about the 23-year-old’s ability before, they were surely put to bed with his performance that night and he will continue to be crucial if QPR are to mount a serious promotion push this season.