Timeless Kevin Nolan the Premier League's unsung hero

West Ham Championship

West Ham midfielder Nolan has scored three goals so far this season in five games, displaying that he is as dangerous as ever.

"Why did Kevin Nolan drop down to the Championship, does he think he is finished at the top level?"

The above was one of the frequently asked questions when Kevin Nolan left Newcastle last summer to join Championship club West Ham.

It was surprising, but the move appears to have worked out well for all parties, Nolan, Newcastle, and West Ham. 

They key factor behind Nolan electing to join the Hammers was being re-united with former boss Sam Allardyce, who helped turn him into a star at Bolton Wanderers.

His goalscoring performances saw him become a regular matchwinner, and he played alongside bona fide world class stars in Jay-Jay Okocha and Fernando Hierro. He even helped them achieve European qualification and played against Bayern Munich and Zenit St Petersburg, scoring a winner past the Russians.

He quit the Reebok in 2009 to join Newcastle, but was unable to stop them being relegated to the Championship. There he excelled, and was clearly too good for the division, scoring 17 goals in the division.

Upon returning to the Premier League two season ago he had his best season yet, scoring 12 goals for the Toon Army, which is why it was such a surprise he chose to drop down a division again and join the Hammers, when there would have been several teams in the top flight willing to sign him.

He netted an impressive 12 times for West Ham and helped them, narrowly, gain promotion, and he has return to the Premier League as a man with a point to prove.

He is showing with his three goals in five games, including a winner against Aston Villa on the opening day, an opener against Fulham, and a late equaliser against Sunderland, that he is still capable at the age of 30 of contributing at the top level.

You can't help thinking he deserves a bit of credit that he is yet to receive for his excellent start, and he is very much to season's unsung hero so far. He won't mind, he  will be used to it, after all this is a man who has not been awarded a single England cap in his career, in an era in which they are handed out like confetti.

He has an excellent record of scoring in every home game in the league this season, and there were signs with his opener at Fulham that he was ready to rekindle his successful partnership with Andy Carroll which was so successful at Newcastle.

He will fancy his chances of topping his record 12 league goals, and if he can, who knows where he can take West Ham? Could a top half finish even be possible?

image: © Ben Sutherland

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