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Chris Chang: QPR the perfect match for All Whites skipper


By Chris Chang

Published: 1:39PM Wednesday September 19, 2012 Source: ONE Sport

  • All Whites captain Ryan Nelsen is promising a do-what-it-takes approach from New Zealand against the Solomon Islands. (Source: Photosport)
    All Whites captain Ryan Nelsen is promising a do-what-it-takes approach from New Zealand against the Solomon Islands. - Source: Photosport

Mark Hughes knew he had to act swiftly over the summer to sort out the shambolic Queens Park Rangers.

Despite a 2-3 defeat to Manchester City on the last day of the season, QPR clung on to seventeenth place, just two points above the relegation zone.

Hughes brought a number of new faces to Loftus Road, including goalkeepers Julio Cesar and Robert Green, Jose Bosingwa, Andy Johnson, Park Ji-Sung, and Esteban Granero.

But the man who could prove most pivotal to the R's chances this year is All Whites captain Ryan Nelsen.

The Kiwi defender has found the perfect place to continue his outstanding Premier League career.

When Tottenham Hotspur snapped up the powerful Cantabrian on a free transfer last season, I was as surprised as anyone; he had a handful of established international centre-backs standing in his way and Spurs were pushing to crack the top three.

Many of my friends gave me grief for suggesting he would be better off elsewhere, where he'd be guaranteed a starting place and his leadership could flourish.

Nelsen made eight appearances for Spurs and scored a goal against Bolton.

But reuniting with Mark Hughes - the man who took him to Blackburn Rovers - was the best thing he could have done.

The transfer is a perfect fit for both parties: QPR require experience and the All Whites skipper needs game time.

Nelsen claimed the squad number of former captain Joey Barton and boy, the shirt could not have gone to a more contrasting figure.

Barton is a hothead and a liability; Nelsen is Mr. Dependable.

The Telegraph newspaper was gushing in its praise for Nelsen after he shackled Fernando Torres on the weekend. QPR played out a goalless draw with Chelsea and the centre-back "dominated" the star Spaniard.

Gerry Cox wrote: "The Brazilian [goalkeeper] was hardly tested because Nelsen kept such a tight rein at the back. He bullied Torres into submission."

Mark Hughes once said signing the New Zealander in 2005 was one of his best pieces of business.

Getting him on board this year may very well come a close second.