Herbert happy to wait on Nelsen's decision

SAM WORTHINGTON
Last updated 05:00 11/01/2013
Ricki Herbert
FAIRFAX NZ
OUT OF THE LOOP: All Whites' coach Ricki Herbert is yet to hear from his captain Ryan Nelsen about whether he plans to retire from international football.

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All Whites coach Ricki Herbert says he's happy to wait for Ryan Nelsen's phone call.

All Whites captain Nelsen was unveiled as the new head coach at Toronto FC on Wednesday and the Queens Park Rangers defender has almost certainly played his last game for New Zealand.

Only Herbert and the rest of NZ Football don't know that for sure yet as the 35-year-old seeks an early release from his contract at QPR.

Herbert was yet to speak to Nelsen yesterday and he was asked if he would have appreciated a heads-up.

"Oh look it's a footballer's career isn't it?" Herbert said.

"At the end of the day it's a massive move in his life and it's a great step for him."

Herbert was then asked if he might try and call Nelsen to seek some clarity.

"It's not my position to ring him and say: 'Ryan, the media's asking are you retiring - are you retiring?'

"If he makes that decision, then 100 per cent we'll talk, but I don't want to be the one talking about it or pre-empting somebody's retirement."

Herbert was also asked by a TV reporter if he found it strange that Nelsen hadn't communicated his international plans to him.

"No, I don't. If you were going to TV3, would you let them know? You probably wouldn't tell them."

Herbert said Nelsen had been "a great leader" for the All Whites but he remained "absolutely" confident they could qualify for another World Cup without him.

"What you lose is a massive, massive amount of experience and I always sort of refer it to the All Blacks. I mean if Dan Carter retired, the country would probably go into mourning.

"So if we lose our best player then we are 78 [actually 91] in the world, not No 1 in the world and we've got to keep building."

Ipswich Town defender Tommy Smith captained the All Whites in Nelsen's absence last year but Herbert declined to endorse him as the definite successor.

"I've probably got one or two floating around but I'm hoping that I don't have to make that decision, yet."

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- The Dominion Post

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