Newcastle midfielder Kevin Nolan is the One to Watch for our midweek clash at St James’ Park.
Name: Kevin Anthony Jance Nolan
Date of Birth: 24 June 1982 (Liverpool)
Former Clubs: Bolton Wanderers
Appearances (Goals): 362 (55)
The tenacious midfielder is in top form having just scored a hat-trick against Ipswich and is most certainly a player we should fear this Wednesday.
The midfielder started his carrier at 14, playing for the city of Liverpool schoolboys team. He went on to join the Bolton youth academy the following year.
His performances at youth level led to him making his professional debut and his first professional contract at the age of 17. The following season, he was considered a part of the first team having played 31 of Bolton’s league games, helping them gain promotion to the Premier League.
On gaining promotion, Nolan was expected to be nothing more than a prospect in the background. However, he proved critics wrong and played 35 games and scored eight goals, of which the first two came on the opening day of the season. He scored two notable goals that season; one being a late equaliser at Anfield whilst another came at Bolton’s 2-1 win at Old Trafford.
The 02/03 season saw Nolan make another 33 appearances, helping Bolton avoid the drop to Division One. He scored a solitary goal, which once again ended up being the winner at Old Trafford. His performances earned him two England under 21 caps.
Nolan only missed three games in the following two seasons, in which he scored 13 league goals and three in the cup, helping Bolton make it into European competitions. Nolan was now a recognised Premier League player and was reportedly scouted by Manchester United boss Sir Alex Fergusson.
The start of the 05/06 saw him start the new season with a contract. He took over as the stand-in Bolton captaincy against West Brom in October 2005. He had a brilliant season, showing he was worth the new contract when he scored 11 in 48 games including two in Europe.
In the next two season, Nolan took over captaincy of Bolton and made his 300th appearance for the Trotters. He scored another ten goals taking his tally to a remarkable 48 in all competitions. He lead Bolton into Europe and helped to secure their highest Premier League finish.
The 08/09 was his last season at Bolton when he played his last 22 games for Bolton scoring a solitary goal. On January 29 2009, Nolan had started a new chapter in his career by signing for the struggling Newcastle for £4million. He signed a four-and-a-half year contract, which he deemed as ‘impossible to turn down.’ He did not get off to a great start at Newcastle, receiving his first red card for a bad tackle on Everton’s Victor Anichebe. He made nine Premier League appearances for Newcastle scoring five times but it was not enough to keep Newcastle up.
Before the start of this season, Nolan was critical of the way the club was run and called for an end the off field distractions. He has played every league game for Newcastle, this season, scoring five goals. His first Newcastle strike came against Crystal Palace; while his last three came over the weekend against Ipswich. He has been in exemplary form this season and is really one we need to watch this Wednesday.
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