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Can West Ham’s captain claim back his starting place?

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With Sam Allardyce seemingly finally willing to adapt his style of football, Hammers fans will begin to wonder whether or not a space in the side remains for skipper, Kevin Nolan. It’s no secret, and I am sure most Hammers will agree that throughout Big Sam’s reign at the Boleyn Ground, old friend Nolan has been the first name on his team sheet week in, week out.

Ravel Morrison’s breakthrough into the first team at the beginning of last season was a cause for real optimism in East London – a player with natural flair and technical ability was what we’d been crying out for, for years. Sadly however, for one reason or another, Morrison struggled to nail down a first team place and was soon shifted out on loan to Harry Redknapp at QPR for the remainder of the campaign.

Since then, whilst much has changed at Upton Park, much has clearly remained the same. During Morrison’s time away from East London, Kevin Nolan inevitably regained his spot in the Hammers’ midfield. In addition more recently, the club have this season, strengthened significantly in midfield; acquiring the signatures of powerhouse Cheikhou Kouyate from Belgian side Anderlecht, Alex Song from FC Barcelona, and Argentinian Mauro Zarate. With these additions in the centre of the Hammers’ midfield, alongside Mark Noble and the returning Morrison, it begs the question as to whether Kevin Nolan deserves his guaranteed place in the starting line up every week.

Despite not being the skipper’s biggest fan, Nolan’s goal scoring contribution to West Ham has thus bar, been exceptional – his goals in both the 2012/13 and 2013/14 campaigns saw him claim the club’s golden boot award two years running. Despite this, however, it cannot be denied that when he is not scoring goals, Nolan offers very little to the side, and could be argued that his leadership abilities and role as captain are the only things that consistently keep him in the side.

Furthermore, Nolan’s recent injury has allowed Mauro Zarate to occupy the space just behind the striker in recent weeks – a position he has at times, excelled in. The Argentinian has unquestionable technical ability, and I fear the return of Kevin Nolan will inevitably lead to Zarate struggling for first team action, and moving on pretty quickly.

On the whole, despite being grateful for Nolan’s contribution to the side since joining a few years ago, I feel there is more talent in the side this season that could offer much more going forward. Selection headaches are always a healthy dilemma to have at any football club, and hopefully competition for places will bring out the best in the playing staff at the Boleyn Ground.

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  • beckton Geoff says:

    I think Nolan has still got it but not for The full 90 minuets could be a good impact sub, is still a good leader, but im afraid I’m not a fan though and Cannot under stand BFS hard on for him .

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