We’ve lost a leader! QPR’s Harry Redknapp on Ryan Nelsen exit

Harry Redknapp admits QPR have lost a "real leader" in Ryan Nelsen, adding Chris Samba's arrival doesn't guarantee survival

Kieran Beckles
By Kieran Beckles
ryan nelsen
Ryan Nelsen joined QPR on a free transfer this summer Photo: The Sport Review

ryan nelsen

Harry Redknapp admits that Queens Park Rangers have lost a “real leader” after veteran defender Ryan Nelsen played his last game for the club in a goalless draw with Manchester City on Tuesday.

The New Zealand international has been a mainstay of QPR’s side this season, under both Redknapp’s predecessor Mark Hughes and the current manager.

However, Toronto’s managerial offer succeeded in luring the former Blackburn Rovers centre-half, who only joined the Hoops as back-up and never expected to feature on a regular basis, to the MLS.

Remarkably, Nelsen made 21 Premier League appearances for the Hoops, forging an impressive partnership with Clint Hill in recent weeks, after joining in the summer on a free transfer.

And QPR manager Redknapp says Nelsen will be missed.

“The big one was losing Ryan Nelsen. Because he had been so good for us, that was the key,” said Redknapp.

“We lost a real leader he had been absolutely fantastic for us.”

QPR have moved swiftly to replace Nelsen, with the Kiwi’s former Blackburn team-mate Chris Samba arriving at Loftus Road after completing a £12.5m switch from Anzhi Makhachkala.

On Friday, Redknapp revealed that he had drawn up a fanciful wish list of centre-halves which he would like to sign – names included Rio Ferdinand, John Terry, Nemanja Vidic and Samba.

But the QPR boss didn’t anticipate club owner Tony Fernandes pulling off a massive coup and signing one of his fantasy targets.

“I didn’t know anything about Chris Samba move, it was completely out of the blue,” he added.

“He sat down with me ten days ago and said who would you take, if you could anyone. I named Vidic, Ferdinand, Terry and Samba. I have tried to Samba loads of times in the past.

“The chairman just said to me that he was close to getting me one of those players on the list but he wouldn’t tell me who it was.

“And that was how it went. We sat there in the office me, Kevin (Bond) and Joe (Jordan) all guessing who it would be.

“He told me the day before he got him.”

However, Redknapp believes Samba’s arrival doesn’t necessarily guarantee QPR’s top-flight survival, with the Hoops boss adamant the Congo star is merely replacing a top-class outgoing defender.

“It doesn’t mean we are going to stay up just because we have bought Samba.

“It is a top centre-half replacing a top-centre half. If Ryan Nelsen had stayed here then I wouldn’t have had to buy Samba.

“Other clubs spend money down there; Villa have spent big money down there.

“People think they have bought just kids, go back to Darren Bent, you can go through a list of players there and they have spent good money as well. Richard Dunne and other players have all cost good money.”

MORE:

MORE: The latest football transfer news

MORE: Meet the Premier League's most stylish footballers

MORE: Do you know the top Muslim footballers in the Premier League?

MORE: Man United latest news

MORE: Arsenal latest news

MORE: Chelsea latest news

MORE: Liverpool latest news

The Sport Review
Grigor Dimitrov beats David Goffin to win his biggest title, ‘But I still have a lot to give’
The Sport Review
Top 50 most stylish footballers in the world in 2017: Arsenal, Man United, Chelsea, Liverpool stars feature
The Sport Review
Top 40 Muslim footballers: Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool and Man United stars feature
The Sport Review
Top 25 footballers’ cars: Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool and Real Madrid players feature
The Sport Review
Top 20 Nigerian footballers in Premier League: Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool stars feature
The Sport Review
Arsenal player wages 2017: Do you know how much Xhaka, Ozil and Coquelin earn each week?
The Sport Review
Juan Mata sends honest Man United message to Marcos Rojo
The Sport Review
Chelsea told they’ve sold the Premier League’s best player
The Sport Review
Shot clock among handful of rule changes to debut at Australian Open