Nolan is Toon's captain marvel

AP

Kevin Nolan's admirable display of professionalism and leadership earned him the responsibility of captaining Newcastle's return to the Premier League this season, and it is a role that he has flourished in. Over to Nicholas McGee.

There are few footballers in the world that are as worthy of the title of captain as Kevin Nolan.

Relegated from the English Premier League with Newcastle just four months after joining from Bolton, Nolan could have been forgiven for wanting to up sticks and move on from a nightmare start to his time on Tyneside. Instead, Nolan has revitalised his career and has now settled at St James' Park.

The Liverpool-born midfielder showed commendable levels of commitment and loyalty in staying with the club through what was undoubtedly its darkest hour in a long and often turbulent history. Nolan quickly established himself as a vital part of team's push for promotion as he lead by example to score a remarkable 17 goals in the team's march to the Championship title last season. It is worth noting that Nolan had previously not scored a league goal since 2008.

It was this admirable display of professionalism and leadership that earned him the responsibility of captaining Newcastle's return to the Premier League, and it is a role that he has flourished in.

Nolan has scored 10 goals this season, including a memorable hat-trick against Sunderland in the Tyne-Wear derby that will most likely go down as the defining moment of his career.

The 28-year-old, who spent over a decade at Bolton, has yet to watch the highlights of that infamous 5-1 victory back in October, but insists the memories will live with him forever.

“You know I've never watched it — and no one has bought me the DVD. I've got the ball at home and the shirt at home but it's all in my head,” Nolan said. Aside from his goals, Nolan has showcased the character needed to be a captain at the highest level, he has already had to guide the team through the transition that came from the sacking of Chris Hughton and the appointment of new boss Alan Pardew at the start of December.

Many skippers have been tasked with this difficult challenge before, but you will be hard pressed to find many who have had their star striker placed in their care. In what was one of the more bizarre stories of the year, striker Andy Carroll was ordered to live with Nolan after being bailed following a charge of assault against him, a charge that was later dropped.

Yet despite this ordeal, both Nolan and Carroll enjoyed surges in form as they played vital roles in the demolition of Sunderland and key wins over West Ham and Arsenal.

In spite of all the tests he has faced, Nolan has made his feelings about his captaincy abundantly clear. “Being captain of such a fantastic club has been a massive honour and sometimes I can't describe how that feels,” he said. “I love doing the job and playing for this club so I hope to be here as long as possible.”

Nolan has already sealed his legacy among Newcastle fans with his display against their bitter rivals, but the former Bolton star is still keen to achieve more for the public who have embraced him as one of their own.

He said: “The response I've had from the whole city has been tremendous and the way I get treated as well. But it was like that before I scored the hat-trick and it now gives people more of an incentive to come over and chat to me.

“It's nice that people will remember me for that but hopefully I've got a couple of years left and maybe a few more after that and it'll be more than one thing people want to remember me for.”

After Andy Carroll was ordered to live with him, Nolan's wife and daughter witnessed Carroll's car being torched on their own drive. Nolan married fiancee Hayley in 2008 and the couple have two children. Nolan has an Audi in his car collection.

FACTFILE Name: Kevin Nolan Position: Midfielder Club: Newcastle D.O.B: 24/06/1982 Newcastle debut: 01/02/2009 v Sunderland (h) Newcastle goals: 28 Moment to remember:

The unforgettable 5-1 win over arch-rivals Sunderland earlier this season when Nolan netted a hat-trick, becoming the first player since Peter Beardsley to do so in a Tyne-Wear derby.

Moment to forget:

The 1-0 defeat at Aston Villa that relegated Newcastle from the Premier League back in May 2009.

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