Ryan Nelsen leaves QPR for MLS

Ryan Nelsen has been one of QPR's positives this season. Photo: PA

QPR defender Ryan Nelsen has been appointed head coach of Toronto FC, the Major League Soccer club's president and general manager Kevin Payne has announced.

The 35-year-old has been one of the west Londoners' few shining lights this season, having joined in June following spells at Blackburn and Tottenham.

Nelsen has made 21 appearances in all competitions but now looks set to leave Loftus Road to take up his first managerial role.

It is unclear whether the job in Canada would also see him make a playing a return to MLS, having made his name there during a four-year spell with DC United.

The Washington club were another linked with a move for Nelsen, who has reportedly been swayed to Toronto by their president and general manager Kevin Payne - an executive at DC United when he played there.

Nelsen's departure is be a huge blow for QPR, who have won only two of their 21 Premier League games this season.

Redknapp signed Nelsen when Spurs manager and has regularly highlighted his significant role at Loftus Road.

"Nelsen is very important to us, a fantastic leader, a top player," the Rs boss said after the 1-1 FA Cup third-round draw with West Brom.

"He has been offered a job in America and I think there is every chance he might want to go.

"He wants to be a manager and it is a chance for him to manage a club.

"He has been fantastic. I took him to Tottenham last year from Blackburn. He's one of the best pros I've ever met in my life, a fantastic player, a great trainer.

"He is a massive part of your team. To lose him would be a massive blow for us."