Ryan Nelsen to lead New Zealand against Jamaica


WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) -- Newly signed Tottenham defender Ryan Nelsen will lead New Zealand in its friendly against Jamaica at Auckland on Feb. 29.

Nelsen, who moved from Blackburn to Spurs earlier this month, was selected on Thursday by coach Ricki Herbert to lead a near full-strength New Zealand team in the one-off match.

Los Angeles Galaxy midfielder Dan Keat is the only uncapped player in an otherwise experienced New Zealand team. Aberdeen striker Rory Fallon, whose goal against Bahrain sent New Zealand to the 2010 World Cup, has been dropped and is likely to be replaced up front by Bristol City's Chris Wood.

Nelsen is expected to be reunited in defense with West Ham's Winston Reid and Ipswich's Tommy Smith, who will play as a unit for the first time since the World Cup.

World Cup squad members Andy Boyens, Jeremy Christie, Aaron Clapham and David Mulligan have been omitted along with Fallon.

"I don't think a New Zealand coach has ever named a team where so many overseas pros have been left out, and it has certainly been a hard squad to whittle down to just 18 players," Herbert said. "When everyone is fit it's clear I have some very tough choices to make, and they are choices I don't make lightly."

The match against 52nd-ranked Jamaica will be New Zealand's last before its 2014 World Cup qualifying program begins with the Oceania Nations Cup in June.