There’s something wrong with Nolan!

Kevin Nolan has been sent off twice in four games and the offences have resulted in him being banned for seven matches, something an injury-hit West Ham can ill afford. By Andrew McDermott.

“We need to talk about Kevin.”

That was the view of West Ham manager Sam Allardyce after his second red card in four matches proved costly in the recent defeat against relegation rivals Fulham.

A furious Allardyce slammed the experienced midfielder for losing his cool in kicking out at Fulham’s Fernando Amorebieta in an off-the-ball incident at Craven Cottage.

The 31-year-old was also sent off for a lunge at Jordan Henderson in West Ham’s 4-1 defeat at Liverpool on December 7 and Allardyce cannot fathom his long-term chief lieutenant’s recent behaviour.

“I just don’t quite understand where he’s lost his cool and why it’s happened,” said Allardyce, who saw his side squander an early lead at Fulham. “I know the centre-half fouled him and I also know that (referee) Mark Clattenburg didn’t give a free-kick and he should have done. But it’s still not an excuse for what Kevin did and he ends up getting himself sent off. He’s responsible for us probably losing the game more than anything else, there’s no doubt about that. I don’t understand it because this indiscretion comes straight after what happened at Liverpool.

“So I’m going to have to find out what’s wrong with him, there’s something wrong with his mentality at the minute. Because at his age and his experience, he’s a player I’ve known for many years, I haven’t seen this type of reaction or this type of situation that he’s put himself into.”

Allardyce and Nolan do indeed go back a long way, which will make his criticism even more hurtful for the player. Nolan grew up in Liverpool but got his breakthrough with Bolton, joining them as a 16-year-old, and it was there that he first played under Allardyce.

Within a year of signing his first professional contract, he helped Bolton achieve promotion to the English Premier League by playing the full 90 minutes of the Championship play-off final at the Millennium Stadium as Wanderers beat Preston 3-0.

Nolan had little trouble coping with the step-up to the top flight and scored eight goals in his first EPL season, including the opener in a famous 2-1 win at Manchester United.

He also scored the winner at Old Trafford the following season and these were great times to be a Bolton fan as they reached the League Cup final, achieved their highest league finish in over 40 years and qualified for Europe.

Nolan took over the captaincy at the start of the 2006/7 season, which included a memorable 2-2 draw away to German giants Bayern Munich, and had made 323 league appearances for the club by the time he left to join Newcastle in January 2009.

He was unable to prevent the Magpies dropping out of the EPL but was the Championship Player of the Year, as they bounced back up at the first attempt, before taking over the club captaincy for the 2010/11 campaign.

The extra responsibility seemed to bring the best out of Nolan and he was the club’s top scorer in their first season back in the top flight with 12 goals which helped to secure a mid-table finish.

He dropped back down to the Championship though to be re-united with Allardyce in June 2011 after signing a five-year contract at West Ham, with Nolan stating: “Having the chance to link up with Sam again is a massive thing and obviously coming to such a massive club is great for me.”

The midfielder was again made captain and savoured a second promotion in three seasons as West Ham beat Blackpool in the play-off final at Wembley.

The goals continued to flow on his return to the EPL, with Nolan reaching double figures for a fourth successive season, but his recent red cards have forced Allardyce to reconsider his value to the team. The offences have resulted in Nolan being banned for seven matches, something an injury-hit squad can ill afford. Allardyce’s frustration was understandable. Nolan has a lot to do to get back in his manager’s good books.

Nolan married Hayley in the summer of 2008 and the couple have two children.

Factfile The player: Kevin Nolan Position: Midfielder Club: West Ham DOB: 24/6/1982 Moment to remember: Moment to forget:

His needless red card against Fulham was his second in the space of four games.

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