Ryan Nelsen will not take part in New Zealand’s friendly with China this Wednesday, due to the Queens Park Rangers defender’s knee and ankle problems.
Nelsen, who captains his national team, did play in QPR’s defeat to Stoke this Saturday, but will not be in the New Zealand squad; despite an apparent warning from New Zealand Football to QPR that Nelsen would be expected to travel.
New Zealand has a policy of prioritising the country over clubs, but it has been confirmed that Nelsen will be allowed to miss the friendly.
It has also prompted fears over whether he will return to full fitness for QPR’s Premier League clash with Southampton this weekend.
Fred de Jong, the New Zealand Football High Performance Director, indicated they are being mindful of making sure he is fully fit when New Zealand’s World Cup qualifiers come around.
“Ryan is committed to our programme and is a key asset to our campaign to qualify for the FIFA World Cup in Brazil,” de Jong said.
“It’s not unique for a team to manage their athletes as best as they can. Ryan is 35-years-old and we want to do all we can to make sure he is fit to play in our FIFA World Cup qualifiers in November and again in March next year if necessary.”
Nelsen has had to deal with the injury problems throughout the last month and with Mark Hughes under pressure at Loftus Road, his return could be a big boost to the Hoops.
In the light of the decision, people have also started to ask why West Ham player Winston Reid received call-ups for qualifiers despite him suffering from a problem with his back, something which Sam Allardyce was unhappy with.
An appearance in the friendly would have been the 50th occasion on which Ryan Nelsen has been capped for his country.