Can Nolan and Parker actually play together?


There’s been a lot of talk about the partnership of Kevin Nolan and Scott Parker, but rather surprisingly it is how the two cannot play together, and if Parker ends up staying, how it could dent West Ham’s bid for promotion. The reasons are varied; Parker doesn’t want to play in the Championship as it’s believed this will ruin his international chances, Sam Allardyce wants Parker to play the holding midfield role, with Nolan his main midfield lynch pin, but the former Chelsea man doesn’t fancy playing second fiddle to Nolan.

I decided to analysis each point using opinions from West Ham fans.

Looking through some West Ham message boards, some fans are suggesting Parker looks disinterested in playing Championship football, with some going as far as saying that the Englishman looked a frustrated figure last season, when it seemed he was carrying the whole team whilst playing and doesn’t want to do the same in England’s second tier. Parker turns 31 later this year, so he has another two or three years maximum playing at the top level, and with rumours that Arsenal and Tottenham are interested in buying him, it would be no surprise if his head had been turned.

There’s also been criticism of Big Sam’s tactical choices; fans have been calling for the tenacious midfielder to be moved into the holding midfield role, cutting back his forward bursts, allowing the likes of Noble and Nolan to make the forward moves, linking up with the strikers, whilst keeping the defence adequately covered. Strong tackling is certainly a big part of Parker’s game, but so are his forward runs, it’s easy to forgot Parker is naturally an attacking midfielder, so taking away that part of his game isn’t going to improve the former Charlton Athletic player’s attitude or mood.

Big Sam and Nolan know each other from their Bolton days, where Nolan was a key figure in Bolton’s successful rise to the Premiership and maintaining of their place, in arguably the world’s best leauge. Nolan is also a natural leader, having been captain at Bolton and Newcastle, Sam has now made Nolan West Ham’s el capitan. Some say this has upset Parker, now he isn’t the main man at West Ham, there maybe some truth in that but I would think Sam thinks Parkers’ days are numbered at West Ham and making him captain for a month would be no help to the team, and an experienced manager like Allardyce will be planning for the season without Parker, despite there only being just over a week left of the transfer window.

People have drawn similarities to the Lampard/Gerrard England partnership; however they both play out of position for the national side. Parker and Nolan are very similar players and perhaps it would be a good move for West Ham if Parker moves on, and that could be sooner rather than later with Tottenham likely to try and replace their Croatian and want away midfielder Luka Modric with Scott Parker.

Have your say on Dean’s controversial piece over at

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