Name: Kevin Nolan
Born: June 24, 1982, in Liverpool
Pro club: West Ham United
Nolan ranks as West Ham’s leading scorer this season with five goals in 11 league games, and he is a major reason why the Hammers currently sit sixth in the table, ahead of Arsenal and Tottenham. Nolan is also currently the top-scoring Englishman in the Premiership, tied with Jermain Defoe.
Aside from the decent scoring pace he’s currently on? Well, Nolan has proven to be one of the best players this season for the Hammers, producing consistent performances in midfield. Oh, and he does a silly chicken dance whenever he scores. Quite the entertaining spectacle to watch.
Nolan joined Bolton’s youth academy as a 16 year old and made his senior debut during the 1999-200 campaign when Wanderers were competing in the First Division (now the Championship). He went on to become a regular starter and fan favourite for Bolton and was eventually named team captain. He joined Newcastle United midway through the 2008-09 season and remained with the Magpies even when they were relegated at the end of campaign. He helped them win promotion at the first time of asking and was later named team captain. But at the end of the 2010-11 season, he moved down to the Championship when he signed with West Ham. He was immediately named captain, and played a key role in the Hammers’ promotion, scoring 12 goals during the season.
Believe it or not, Nolan has not earned a single cap for England, as he’s been consistently overlooked by English managers – this, despite serving as captain for three different teams and having 10 topflight seasons under his belt. He has, however, played a few times for England’s under-21 side. Nolan once told a newspaper that he was eligible to play for the Netherlands and Ireland. “It does hurt I haven’t got one [England cap] I must admit, and it does hurt a bit, but it is something I have got to live with and I’m a big boy,” Nolan told reporters this week. “I don’t know what more I can do to be quite honest. I’ve scored goals consistently for a number of years; I dropped down a division but consistently scored goals down there.”
As a member of Newcastle, Nolan scored his 50th career Premier League goal against Bolton, his former club, at St. James’ Park on Feb. 26, 2011.
When you play for either Newcastle United, only one match really matters: the Tyne-Wear derby against local rivals Sunderland. So anybody who bags a hat-trick in the fixture instantly becomes a hero in the eyes of supporters. Nolan scored three goals in Newcastle’s 5-1 home win over the Black Cats on Oct. 31, 2010.
"If people have been surprised by us so far, then that’s their fault for underestimating us. We added some more quality to the squad that we came up with in the summer, so we knew we had a chance of finishing in the top 10. We’re looking like we can do that."
“His instincts in the box are there for all to see. It’s five goals he has got in 11 games now in the Premier League … and for a midfield player to be totalling up that sort of goal tally is fantastic from our point of view.” — Sam Allardyce, West Ham United manager