Nelson’s experience could be vital for QPR
The Premier League can be a tough place for a defender these days. With the attackers getting quicker, younger and more skilful the art of defending has witnessed somewhat of a downturn over recent years. In order to sustain any form in this league, you must have a squad with good and experienced defenders.
September 23rd, 2012
Over the summer Mark Hughes has finally been able to stamp his own mark on his QPR squad and has brought in more players that he knows and trusts. In addition to Nedum Onuoha and Bobby Zamora who he signed in January, he has now also added Junior Hoilett, Andy Johnson and most importantly Ryan Nelson. Ever since Hughes begun his managerial career he has relied on his knowledge of certain players and the level of trust built up at previous clubs.
Ryan Nelson was a complete unknown when he signed for Blackburn Rovers on a free transfer from DC United in January 2005. He became an overnight success for the club and even became captain during Hughes’ tenure at Rovers. Despite his obvious lack of pace his courage, determination and positional sense more than made up for it and he developed into a fine Premier League player.
Unfortunately for Nelsen his career has been blighted by injuries and he has not played as many games as he could have done. His move to Tottenham last season shocked almost everyone and his limited playing time was clearly a reason for him to look for a move.
Fortunately for the Kiwi his old manager and mentor Hughes was in the market for an experienced and gifted centre back. The former Blackburn, Fulham and Manchester City manager was desperately in need of someone to aid Anton Ferdinand and Onuoha. Both defenders, although decent Premier League players, have moments where they switch off and playing alongside Nelsen will improve them both significantly. The 34 year old’s professionalism is beyond doubt and leading by example is how he has played for his entire career.
He was singled out for his defensive performance against Chelsea in mid September where he marshalled the QPR defence expertly. Lining up against Eden Hazard, Juan Mata and Fernando Torres he dominated everything in the air and ensured his team came away with a valuable point.
With the midfield and attacking options that QPR now have available they should be competing for a high mid table finish. However, in order to achieve a lofty position in the table they have to be defensively sounds. Although Nelson is not getting any younger his experience at this level will be pivotal in anything the club can achieve this year.