RYAN Nelsen was up at 3.30am raring to go against Everton in QPR’s last home game.
The Kiwi defender admitted it had nothing to do with over enthusiasm so he could get stuck into the Toffees 13 hours later – but plenty to do with jet lag.
The surprise hit of the Rangers back line had just flown 12,000 miles back from New Zealand just 48 hours earlier, and despite hitting 35 last time he blew out the candles has no intention of blowing out his country.
Nelsen reckons he has learned to cope with a tough gig during international breaks, and will continue to punish his body for as long as he can.
“It’s not easy, Nelsen admitted, “but once you’re retired you’re done forever, and I really enjoy playing for my country but I also enjoy playing in the Premier League.
“It’s more mental than anything, and you’ve got to shut it out and play as hard as you can.
“If you don’t get the bad stuff out, no-one’s going to feel sorry for you.”
Boss Mark Hughes admitted he was in awe of Nelsen’s regular 24,000 mile trips.
“I guess, it’s because he’s been doing it so long, he’s got used to it," said the manager. "But it’s still a pretty amazing feat.”