Date:Tuesday January 30 2007
Ryan Nelsen made his long awaited return from injury for Blackburn Rovers at the weekend; MikeyGamst speaks of his importance, he's right you know!
Now it is no secret that I am a huge fan of Mr Nelsen... ever since he was signed on a free transfer over two seasons ago he was touted as the "best piece of business" Mark Hughes had ever done. We hadn't heard of him, he came from a club that very few outside of the US had heard of and played for New Zealand... that great football hotbed. He must have something about him to make Hughes of said that surely??? That was what we were saying at the time...
Since his capture from DC United he has proved to be a mainstay in the defence, a natural leader and a previously frail defence from the Souness era was all of a sudden our main strength... mainly because of the hulking New Zealander. His presence and positional sense have made him (in my opinion) one of the top 5-6 defenders in the country. Never more so than last years glorious campaign where we conceded only 42 goals. The vastly improved defence was the main reason for our climb up the table from the previous season. We played with assurance with Ryan at the helm and this gave our attacking players the platform and confidence to launch more attacking play than had been seen the season before.
Unfortunately at the start of the current campaign, Ryan was taken down with a very freak coccyx injury and sidelined for four months. Immediately our defence looked shaky and goals were shipped at an alarming rate. Mainly down to the fact that Sparky had no idea what his best partnership was. He planned to base the whole team round the man known as The Admiral and when the injury happened Rovers took a long time to recover. Andre Ooijer was bought in to shore up things at the back and despite the fact he is now a great performer (shame about the injury), his start was less than impressive... the highlight being one of the worst debuts ever seen by mankind. Combine this with the fact that just about every defender in our squad plays best when paired Nelsen (especially Zurab) and we have shipped 33 goals in just over half a season... the big man has been sorely missed....
January came round and last Saturday bought the Luton game at Kenilworth Road. A day before kick off and the squad is announced... after four long months - HE'S BACK!!!! And what do you know 20 minutes into the game and we look superb at the back, Ryan is taking charge and all is right with the world. He looks like he hasn't been away at all. Yes I know it was only Luton but tell me you didn't feel more secure knowing he was there??? The future looks bright and it's all down to the man who cost absolutely nothing.
In my eyes Ryan Nelsen is Blackburn Rovers' best player and we can all look forward to another climb up the League table with him back in action. The future is bright... the future is Blue and White.
This article was written and submitted by MikeyGamst.
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Date:Tuesday January 30 2007
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