Nelsen earns Olympic opportunity
Blackburn boss Paul Ince has given Ryan Nelsen the all-clear to play in the Olympics.
Last Updated: 02/07/08 10:24am
Blackburn manager Paul Ince has given captain Ryan Nelsen the all-clear to play for New Zealand in the Olympic Games in Beijing.
Ince has yet to meet the skipper of the Blackburn squad he inherited after taking over at Ewood Park last week.
However, he has given Nelsen the opportunity to represent the New Zealand Under 23 squad as one of three over-age players and the defender will join his countrymen ahead of their opening match against China on 7th August.
Nelsen, though, will be back with Blackburn before their first game of the Premier League season against Everton on 16th August as the 30-year-old is to return to England after New Zealand's second match against Brazil.
And New Zealand U23 coach Stu Jacobs has welcomed Ince's decision, telling nzsoccer: "It's great news.
"We've got one of the world's best defenders lining up for us in two crucial matches.
"The reality is that the club didn't have to release the player so Blackburn have really come to the party.
"They've got a new manager in Paul Ince who hasn't even met his captain yet but he said he knew Ryan was desperate to play and given the magnitude of the Olympic Games he was more than happy to help out where he could."