Nolan desperate for West Ham to get back where they belong
New Hammers midfielder Kevin Nolan is slowly returning to fitness in time for the new season at Upton Park.
West Ham captain-in-waiting Kevin Nolan says he can’t wait for the new season to start so he begin the task of getting the Hammers and their fans back where they belong – in the Premier League.
The 29-year-old Liverpudlian played his first 90 minutes in claret and blue at Wycombe Wanderers on Saturday and he admits that he is slowly getting back to something like fitness after a long break from football.
“I was just happy to get 90 minutes, it was my first of pre-season,” admitted Nolan, who was plucked from Premier League side Newcastle United in the summer in a �3million deal.
“I had an hour in Copenhagen the other day, so just to get the 90 today helps with the old muscles and the sharpness coming in.”
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Nolan missed the last two weeks of Newcastle’s Premier league campaign with injury and he admitted he was feeling the rust when he first returned to training with West Ham.
“My first 45 minutes against Basel I thought I was going to die,” laughed Nolan. “I hadn’t done anything for eight and a half weeks, I had about three football sessions so I really felt it.
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“To be where I am now, 10 or 11 days later, it is a big thumbs up to the medical team, to the staff and the fitness coaches and how they are working me, so hopefully come two weeks time I will be hoping to be near enough there to be ready.
“You are never 100 per cent when you get back there, but hopefully I will be at the top end, so we will be ready for Cardiff and get off to a bright start.”
Nolan played alongside footballer of the year Scott Parker at Wycombe on Saturday, a mouthwatering prospect for all West Ham fans and the pair eventually stamped their mark on the game, though it did take a while as Nolan freely admits.
“Against Wycombe I think the start was a bit lacklustre for us, but I think throughout we made sure we were solid, we didn’t concede again which is a pleasing thing and as the game wore on I think we were the stronger of the two sides which is very pleasing.”
Nolan went close on a couple of occasions on Saturday, and West Ham fans are only too aware from past experience, that the combative midfielder has a habit of notching the goals.
He scored 30 in 91 appearances for Newcastle United and boasts a superb record against the Hammers of four goals both for the Magpies and for Bolton.
“I’ve played at Upton Park for a number of years and scored a few goals against them and hopefully I will score a lot more goals for them,” said Nolan. “It has always been a nice ground for me, so hopefully it will be in the future.
“Against Wycombe on another day I could have had a couple of goals and I’m putting that down to the fact that it was my first 90 minutes. I said to the gaffer, ‘wait till we get to competitive games, that’s when you can have a go at me over that’.”
The competitive games are just around the corner and Nolan is already champing at the bit.
“I’m just really looking forward to the season now and getting my teeth into it,” he said. “I’ve moved down here, got my flat, so I am right in the thick of things and looking forward to it.”
Nolan may have moved from the north east to east London, but for him one thing is the same and that is the passion of the fans.
“This is a fantastic club,” he said. “There was never a doubt for me once I knew that West Ham were in for me and all the personal terms were sorted. It was just a fantastic move for me.
“The passion and everything at the club is amazing. I think everyone I’ve seen, every taxi driver, everyone is a West Ham supporter.
“At Newcastle I had a fantastic two and a half years. I was delighted to be captain there and now to come her and you have got a set of fans who are exactly the same.
“I’m just hoping now that I can be as successful here as I was there and make sure that I can help get this team and these supporters back where they belong.”