Tottenham Hotspur manager Harry Redknapp surprised many by acquiring defender Ryan Nelsen during the winter. Redknapp has surprised some once again by announcing that he wants Nelsen to remain with Spurs past this May.
Sources such as the Daily Mail and TVNZ are reporting that Spurs are ready to give Nelsen a new contract this summer, one that will keep him at Spurs throughout next season. Redknapp acquired Nelsen on a free this past January, when several of Tottenham's back line mainstays were dealing with injury issues. Nelsen played a full 90 minutes in the team's 3-1 victory over Bolton on Tuesday evening, and the defender was responsible for opening the scoring after what was a rather frustrating 74 minutes of football for Spurs.
Redknapp talked to reporters on Thursday about how important Nelsen has been to Spurs since joining the club. Both of the previously mentioned stories quote the Tottenham boss as having said "I thought (Nelsen) was fantastic (against Bolton). I just think he is a great professional and a real good player. I couldn't believe I got him on a free...He has got a six-month contract. At the end of the season you have got to keep him here next year because he's worth his weight in gold just to have around for other people to look at the way he works, the way he trains, the way he behaves, his attitude."
Nelsen has not been the most impressive defender in the world since joining Spurs two months ago. The 34-year old defender has played in just five matches since mid-February. Three of those were starts, and two of those contests featured Stevenage as opponents for Spurs. Analysts and fans alike criticized Nelsen for some of those performances, stating that he was too slow to hang with Premier League forwards. Nelsen played very well on both sides of the field in Tuesday's FA Cup contest, and he was one very important reason Spurs avoided a replay with Bolton. Nelsen headed home the game's first goal in the 74th minute, and Gareth Bale doubled Tottenham's lead three minutes later. Spurs went on to win 3-1.
Nelsen may no longer be the player of old, but that doesn't mean he has no worth to Redknapp and Spurs. As Harry stated, Nelsen is a great veteran presence to have in training, in the dressing room and out on the pitch during matches. Ledley King is a similar player, but he's also always one (final) serious knee injury away from his career being over. Michael Dawson has had his own injury woes to deal with in the past calendar year. William Gallas may/may not be making a move to a different club/country this summer. Nelsen could be a stabilizing force for Tottenham both this spring and beyond as Spurs attempt to hold onto Champions League football.
- Ryan Nelsen
- Harry Redknapp
- Tottenham Hotspur