QPR's Redknapp fears Kiwi star Nelsen headed to US

LONDON (AFP) - QPR manager Harry Redknapp fears New Zealand defender Ryan Nelsen is set to quit the struggling Premier League club to take a coaching job at DC United in the United States.

Nelsen has been linked with a player-coach position at his former club DC United, who kick-off their MLS season in March.

The 35-year-old signed a one-year deal with QPR after leaving Tottenham six months ago but, speaking after his side's 1-1 draw against West Bromwich Albion in the FA Cup third round on Saturday, Redknapp conceded the New Zealand star could be on his way out.

"There is some truth in the rumour I'm afraid. Nelsen is very important to us, a fantastic leader, a top player. But he has been offered a job in America and I think there is every chance he might want to go," Redknapp said.

"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, a leader."

With QPR fighting to avoid relegation, Redknapp is desperate to keep Nelsen and he admitted he will speak to QPR owner Tony Fernandes in a bid to persuade the centre-back to stay.

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

"I'll have to speak to the owner to see what the situation is with that.

We'll try (to keep him) but it is difficult."