Nelsen suffered a knee injury in Blackburn Rovers' 3-0 English premiership win over Bolton Wanderers on Sunday is expected to be sidelined for four to six weeks, New Zealand Football said on Wednesday. Initially, there were fears the knee injury was more serious and could have prevented Nelsen taking part in the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa™.
"It's a four to six week concern, but that should alleviate concerns about his fitness for the World Cup, which is the most important thing for us," New Zealand coach Ricki Herbert said. New Zealand will play Mexico in a FIFA World Cup warm-up in Los Angeles on 4 March.
Herbert said Old, who plays for Scottish premier league side Kilmarnock, was the logical choice to provide cover for the defence, which will also be missing the suspended Ivan Vicelich. "Steven's been part of the squad before and is very much part of the wider group so given Ivan's suspension and now Ryan's injury it makes sense to bring him in."