QPR boss reveals Nelsen regret
‘I only wish he was 10 years younger’, says Hughes after centre-back gives Torres nightmare
Mark Hughes paid tribute to Ryan Nelsen after the veteran defender’s towering performance over Chelsea’s Fernando Torres during Saturday’s goalless west London derby.
Nelsen had managed just one training session with the Rs after flying back to London on Thursday, having helped New Zealand to a World Cup qualifying win over the Solomon Islands 24 hours previously.
But the 34-year-old at times rendered Torres anonymous, restricting the Spain striker to a single first-half turn and shot as Rangers held their own to secure a point against the European champions.
Hughes, who signed Nelsen during the summer, insisted he was unsurprised by his display, and admitted his only regret was that the defender was not 10 years younger.
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“I thought Ryan Nelsen was great. Because we expect him to bang out good performances like that sometimes we don’t give him the credit that he deserves,” said Hughes.
“You know what you’re going to get from him; a consistent level of performance. Torres is a striker of world renowned and he really dominated him.
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“Given the week that he’s had it’s a credit to him and how he prepares. I think he [Torres] was frustrated because he was finding it very difficult to have an impact. That’s a credit to Ryan.
“He’s 35 years of age - the only shame is that he’s not 25. Maybe he wouldn’t be playing for us if he was 25. He [Torres] will have better days than he did today, but that was a credit to my centre-half.
“I had to make sure he was fit and well and ready for Premier League games. He came back from the Olympics so I had to be careful. Once he had a couple of weeks training I knew he was ready.”
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