New Zealand defender Ryan Nelsen is relishing the prospect of a reunion with former manager Mark Hughes after his second Olympic campaign with the All Whites. The 34-year-old centre-half will link up with Hughes once more after the Olympics when he heads to Premier League side Queens Park Rangers following a short stint with Tottenham.
It will be the second time Nelsen has worked with Hughes after the Welsh manager launched the New Zealander's Premier League career at Blackburn Rovers. "I owe him and his coaching staff my life," Nelsen said of Hughes after a New Zealand training session on Wednesday.
"He looked past the fact I was a New Zealander playing in America (for DC United). He took me to Blackburn purely on my football ability. He gave me an opportunity a lot of managers would not have had the guts to make."
Nelsen is confident of helping QPR in their attempts to become an established member of the top-flight. "It should be another fun chapter in the twilight of my career," he said. "I have a chance to be part of QPR's aim to become a big club and I am excited about that."
But Nelsen's first priority are the Olympics, where New Zealand are grouped with Brazil, Egypt and Belarus. "You always want to represent your country," said Nelsen. "The World Cup in 2010 was a special tournament and a special time. We have moved on and now this team wants to create history. We want to make New Zealanders proud and hopefully inspire a lot of young kids to take up the sport."