One to Watch - Kevin Nolan
Name: Kevin Nolan
Date of Birth: 24/6/1982
Former Clubs: Bolton, Newcastle
League Appearances (Goals): 428 (84)
International Appearances (Goals): 0 (0)
Stat of the Day: Kevin Nolan`s 1st minute goal against Fulham on 1st September, was the quickest goal scored since Daniel Sturridge netted against QPR last season
Player Profile: Neil Warnock loves Paddy Kenny, Harry Redknapp loves Jermain Defoe and Sam Allardyce loves Kevin Nolan. Like every school teacher, every football manager has their favourites and Allardyce has put his faith in Nolan time and again - the experienced midfielder on many occasions stepping up to be Big Sam`s saviour. The attacking midfielder arrived at West Ham penning a 5-year-contract at the age of 28, something that would appear better suited to QPR`s contract criteria over recent years; however Nolan almost singlehandedly guided the Hammers back to the Premier League and has already been the stand out performer in a run of the mill Premier League West Ham side.
Many, albeit nonsensical, QPR fans have condemned the use of luxury player Adel Taarabt in the Premier League, noting the team`s powerlessness to carry such an extra player. Kevin Nolan is not too dissimilar however: for long periods of a game Nolan will go missing, his inability to dominate matches and limited passing and mobility a detriment to his game. Yet Allardyce and his West Ham side are set up to get the best out of Nolan and all too often the attacking midfielder will pop up unnoticed in the penalty area to score vital goals and prove time and again how invaluable he is to any side he plays in. His talent at finding space in the penalty area is something to be admired and Hughes and his coaching staff must devise an intelligent plan to nullify the Nolan attacking threat.
Kevin Nolan was raised in Liverpool and joined Bolton Wanderers as a youngster, signing for the club as a trainee at the age of 16. He soon made his first team debut and helped Bolton to promotion to the Premier League in 2001, becoming an integral part of their Premier League side in the following seasons. He was instrumental in guiding Bolton to their highest placed finish in forty years and helping the club reach the group stages of the UEFA Cup in the 2005/2006 season. He became club captain in 2006, taking over from Jay Jay Okocha, and despite having made 296 league appearances for Bolton he began talks with Newcastle United over a possible move, following perceived criticism of his performances from some of the club`s supporters.
In January 2009 he joined Newcastle for a fee of £4 million, signing a four and a half year contract. He couldn`t manage to keep Newcastle from relegation at the end of the 2008/2009 season and Nolan proved to play a key role in Newcastle`s push for promotion the following season. Having netted 18 goals in all competitions and guiding Newcastle to the Championship title he was voted Championship Player of the Year. He scored 29 goals in 85 league appearances for Newcastle before West Ham forked out £4 million to sign the midfielder following their relegation from the Premier League. Nolan proved once again to be the catalyst to his team`s promotion as he scored 13 league goals and helped West Ham to an immediate return to the Premier League.
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