Blackburn Rovers will release captain Ryan Nelsen for part of New Zealand's Olympic football campaign, officials said Wednesday.
The 30-year-old Nelsen, chosen as one of New Zealand's three allowed over-age players in the under 23 competition, will be available for the first two matches against hosts China on August 7 and Brazil on August 10.
Nelsen will miss the final pool match against Belgium on August 13 to return to England to prepare for Blackburn's opening Premier League match of the season against Everton.
New Zealand coach Stu Jacobs said the decision by new Blackburn manager Paul Ince to release Nelsen was a “terrific outcome”.
He said Nelsen was delighted he could play for his country and realised how important it was for New Zealand to take its best team to the Olympics.
“I think all the way through the process, he has been pretty desperate to be part of it.”
Nelsen will join Glasgow Celtic striker Chris Killen and former Fulham midfielder Simon Elliott as the three permitted over-age players in the team.
The full New Zealand squad was due to be named Thursday.
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