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Blackburn's Nelsen named NZ captain

Blackburn Rovers defender Ryan Nelsen will mark his return to international soccer as the All Whites' new skipper.

He was named as the New Zealand leader for the 2010 World Cup campaign.

Nelsen last played for the All Whites in 2004 and had any further chances of representing his country curtailed by injury and professional duties with clubs in the United States and England.

The All Whites will play four Oceania qualifying matches next month, and coach Ricki Herbert is confident Fifa rules mean Blackburn cannot prevent Nelsen from playing against Vanuatu and Fiji.

"It's our understanding he will be released ... There is a window for internationals and it is not a contentious point.

"I spoke to Ryan last week and he's excited about this, looking forward to it," Herbert said.

Nelsen last played in New Zealand in 2002 against Australia. He scored the 78th-minute match-winner to send the All Whites to their second Fifa Confederations Cup appearance in France the following year.

"I can't wait to get back and lead the guys out because it's been an impressive couple of years for the game in New Zealand," Nelsen said.

"Obviously I would have played for New Zealand a lot earlier if it hadn't been for injuries," Nelsen added. "But I've always wanted to play for New Zealand and my club knows that; they know I'm a patriotic guy."

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