Nelsen's future remains in doubt
Soccer: Ryan Nelsen’s QPR future is shrouded in mystery after the defender today agreed to become head coach of Major League Soccer club Toronto FC.
The 35-year-old has been a key player for the Rs this season, making 21 appearances in all competitions since moving to Loftus Road in the summer. His deal runs until the end of the season but he hopes to negotiate an early exit from Harry Redknapp’s side without leaving the west Londoners in the lurch.
The former Blackburn and Tottenham defender has agreed to become head coach of Toronto FC, but Press Association Sport understands the struggling Rs, who sit 19th in the Premier League, hope to persuade him to stay until the end of the campaign.
“I’ve had several conversations with Harry and Tony Fernandes,” Nelsen said at a press conference in Canada today. “They have been so understanding with my situation. They understand that when I play I am playing on glass knees and glass ankles. It is a bit of a struggle. They know I am at the end but they also know the predicament they are in. It is a major predicament. Getting out the English Premier League has major financial implications and there is a lot of pressure from fans, the media and so on, so I have an obligation.
“I really want QPR to stay up and to kick on for Harry and because of the owner. They are just fantastic people. They would like me to keep playing but we have to sit down and talk. If we can get five straight wins, that’d be perfect. I think then we can shake hands \[and part company] but we are just going to have to talk and see how things progress.”
Despite the announcement, QPR have revealed Nelsen will be available for this weekend’s Barclays Premier League fixture against Tottenham. The Rs also hope to persuade him to stay until the end of the campaign and, should they succeed, the defender’s role at Toronto will be limited.
Nelsen has revealed preparations for the 2013 season have already been mapped out and his coaching staff, including newly-appointed assistant coach and director of player recruitment Fran O’Leary, have his full backing.
“I have 100 per cent confidence in Fran,” Nelsen said. “We have known each other for over 10 years, we think very similar in terms of style and how we want to play. He has a Uefa Pro Licence, coached over 25 years and I know that when I am not there Fran will lead the ship 100 per cent with the fantastic staff that already exists. Pre-season has already been planned, every session, and I know if I am not there I have a 100 per cent full faith in the coaching staff.”
Amongst the numerous questions Nelsen received at today’s press conference was one about Kieron Dyer.
QPR today opted to activate the release clause in the 34-year-old’s contract despite his goal in Saturday’s 1-1 draw with West Brom in the FA Cup.
It was news that surprised Nelsen, who said: “Sorry? I didn’t even know that.
“Kieron scored in the cup for us on the weekend so it is the first news I’ve heard of it.”
Much like Nelsen, Dyer has struggled with injuries in recent years and only made eight appearances in all competitions after joining in July 2011.
Speaking on his departure, Redknapp told the club’s official website, qpr.co.uk: “I’d like to thank Kieron for his services to QPR. If he can stay clear of injuries I’m sure there’s clubs out there that will offer him the chance to play football. He wasn’t in my plans and I think he’s got something to offer someone, so we wish him all the best.”