Nelsen: No major issues here

Ryan Nelsen is concerned by bigger issues. Photo: PA

QPR may be rock bottom of the Premier League, but Ryan Nelsen insists the club's problems are small fry compared to what others are going through in the world at the moment.

QPR host Reading still looking for their first Barclays Premier League win of the season after nine matches.

The club's season is "in crisis" and manager Mark Hughes is close to losing his job if some articles written this week are to be believed.

Yet for R's defender Nelsen, all the talk of doom is laughable. Not because the New Zealand centre-back does not care, but because of the strife that he, his countrymen, and the people of the east coast of the United States have or are enduring.

Nelsen, a Stanford graduate and therefore one of the most intelligent footballers in the game, watched with sadness as deadly storm Sandy battered New York this week, killing over 100 people in its path.

The destruction triggered desperately sad memories of the 2011 earthquake back in Nelsen's home town of Christchurch.

All of a sudden talk of expensively-paid footballers with fast cars going through a "crisis" became almost laughable for the 35-year-old.

"What's happened on the east coast and thinking about what happened in Christchurch puts things in to perspective," Nelsen said.

"All of us get caught up in our day-to-day issues and problems, but in the grand scheme of things... things like that are humbling."

Nelsen was reminded of the destruction caused by the Christchurch earthquake when he returned to his homeland recently to play for his national side.

The defender was playing at Blackburn when the quake struck 19 months ago.

"When it struck there was a feeling of helplessness," he recalls.

"My sister went in to childbirth actually when the quake happened.

"She got stuck in a part of Christchurch that got blocked off. She went in to labour. No one could get to her. All the phones were cut off.

"My parents were calling me because they couldn't get to her.

"Everyone was running around looking for people, for their loved ones and no one knew where anyone was.

"It was a pretty crazy time. We played there a couple of weeks ago and it's like a ghost town.

"Everything has had to be torn down. There were tumbleweeds going through the streets."

Nelsen is one of the most interesting figures in top-flight football. The Kiwi left his hometown to move to America at the age of 20 to study in North Carolina. From there he transferred to Stanford, where he graduated with a political science degree, and met some interesting people.

"One day I was on the driving range with Tiger Woods and the guy who founded Yahoo," Nelsen said.

"I was out of my depth in that conversation."

Nelsen took a sabbatical after graduating with the idea that he would return to his studies to become a lawyer.

Fourteen years later, after spells at DC United, Blackburn and Tottenham, he has put the idea of taking the bar to bed.

"I've met far too many lawyers and they have pushed me away from law," the defender said with a smile.

For now Nelsen intends to concentrate solely on dragging Rangers from the foot of the table, starting with a win against fellow strugglers Reading.

Although QPR have conceded an average of two goals a game this term, Nelsen has been one of their most consistent performers, but he knows that the team need to start winning matches quickly.

The centre-half admits he feels for Hughes, with whom he worked previously at Blackburn.

"It is horrible (for Hughes)," Nelsen said.

"If we make a mistake, get injured or get sent off, it is always the manager who takes the full responsibility so I feel bad for him.

"But his work ethic is very good; he's first in last out.

"I know the manager is doing everything he can to win football games.

"We are all trying to do it. If we do lose it's not because we are under prepared or not trying. We are."