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Blackburn's Nelsen nominated for NZ Footballer of Year

Ryan Nelsen heads the list of nominees for New Zealand's international footballer of the year award, reports ,The Press.

Nelsen, who won last year, Celtic striker Chris Killen and Wellington Phoenix marksman Shane Smeltz will contest the top award at New Zealand Football's (NZF) gala dinner in Auckland on November 19.

The event has been squeezed between New Zealand's FIFA World Cup qualifiers against Vanuatu, allowing the All Whites squad to attend the dinner before the return leg of the tie in Wellington on November 21.

Nelsen won a nomination after guiding the Blackburn Rovers to the semi-finals of the FA Cup in April - for the second time in three seasons - as well as a place in the Uefa Cup.

Killen's 13 goals for Hibernian - before injury curtailed his Scottish Premier League golden boot aspirations - earned the Wellingtonian a plum contact at Glasgow giant Celtic, as well as a second successive NZF nomination.

Smeltz made a late run for the honour after his goal-scoring heroics for club and country.

The Australian-born Kiwi nabbed a Phoenix contract with both goals in New Zealand's meritorious 2-2 draw away to Wales in May, before sealing the All Whites' opening 2-0 World Cup qualifying win over Fiji with a spectacular late goal in Lautoka last month.

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