Ones to Watch: QPR

by Kate Smith

Take a closer look at Rangers' stars.

Ahead of every game, we profile three prominent performers for the opposition – this week it’s Harry Redknapp's QPR.

The New Zealand national team captain has been a regular in the English top flight for almost a decade. Nelsen is best known in England for a seven year spell at Blackburn Rovers, where he made over 200 first team appearances. The no-nonsense defender moved to Ewood Park from DC United in 2005, and helped the club to a sixth place finish, guiding the team into the UEFA Cup in his first season. Nelsen’s solid approach helped Blackburn to establish themselves as a regular in the top flight but a spate of injuries meant Nelsen was released at the beginning of 2012. The New Zealander was snapped up by Harry Redknapp and went on to make eight appearances for Spurs, scoring once. Following his release from White Hart Lane, Nelsen signed a one year deal at QPR in the summer.

The diminutive midfielder joined hometown club Real Madrid at the age of eight, and rose through the club’s youth system all the way to their second team, Real Madrid Castilla. From there, he moved first on loan, and then permanently, to their city rivals Getafe. Real maintained a buy-back option and after an impressive 2008-90 season, exercised the clause to bring Granero back to the Bernabeu in the summer of 2009. After struggling to hold down a first team place, Granero opted to make the switch to Loftus Road this August. The Spaniard signed a four year contract at QPR, and was handed the number 14 shirt.

Canada-born David ‘Junior’ Hoilett joined the Blackburn Rovers youth set-up at the age of 13 and signed his first professional contract in 2007. However, Hoilett struggled to obtain a work permit, resulting in Blackburn sending him to Germany on loan, first to Paderborn 07 and then to St Pauli. In the summer of 2009, Hoilett was granted a work permit and made almost 30 appearances for Rovers in the 2009/10 season. Hoilett’s exciting wing play meant he became a firm favourite with the Ewood faithful, and they were disappointed to see him leave after their relegation from the top flight. Hoilett signed a four year contract with QPR in July, and scored his first league goal for the club in a 1-1 draw with Everton at Loftus Road in October.