West Ham United captain, Kevin Nolan, seems to have his position fixed firmly in the starting 11. Sam Allardyce is a big fan of Nolan from his time at Bolton and Newcastle, and there is no doubt he was a massive influence in our promotion season and our first season back in the Premier League.
However, the reason Nolan kept his place in the team was because he contributed goals to the cause. He managed to score on the opening day of the season, but since then, has been pretty anonymous. Nolan has always offered any team he has played for, an attacking threat, but this seems to have dwindled somewhat in the last 5 games. Nolan, for me, doesn’t add anything else to the team in terms of creativity. No doubt he works hard, but he doesn’t seem to get very far.
I also dislike the opinion that he only plays well with Andy Carroll in the side. If this is the case, then why does he keep getting picked? Nolan hasn’t even looked like scoring since the first day of the season, and with Stewart Downing returning to the squad, I would love to see a midfield trio of Noble, Diame and Morrison, with Downing and Jarvis taking the wide positions. Morrison offers far more creativity, and has weighed in with 3 goals already this season. Diame is not a winger, and I prefer him making those trademark surging runs from the centre of midfield.
Should Nolan start contributing goals, then fair play, keep him in the team, but to play a player because he is Sam Allardyces’ favourites is just wrong. Nolan needs to either contribute more, or get dropped. It’s as simple as that.