Allardyce plays down Nolan chance for World Cup

West Ham manager Sam Allardyce does not expect in-form Kevin Nolan to receive an England call-up any time soon despite upstaging Southampton's World Cup hopefuls.

Kevin Nolan (l) of West Ham United scores his side

Allardyce publicly questioned his captain's psychological state at the start of the year after he was sent off in the defeat at Fulham, just weeks after seeing red against Liverpool.

Nolan's response to that has been impressive, netting five goals in as many Premier League games since his return from suspension - form that has coincided with a run of four successive league wins for the Hammers.

The 31-year-old's latest key contribution came on Saturday, scoring one and providing another in the 3-1 defeat of Southampton, which will have no doubt impressed watching England assistant Ray Lewington.

Nolan outshone several of Saints' England prospects and led some to suggest he deserves a belated a shot at the national team, although Allardyce suspects that chance is gone for the man capped at Under-18 and Under-21 levels.

"He has had a lot of times that he has knocked on the door and I don't think that's going to make much difference for him now," he said ahead of Thursday's squad announcement for the friendly with Denmark.

"It would be nice if he did, but it is just about Kevin continuing where he is now.

"He is in his thirties now so he has got to continue his career as long as he possible can by doing what he has always done and that is score goals.

"Apart from a short spell out in the Championship with Newcastle, he has scored goals every single season he has played at a very, very high level for a midfield player.

"There are very, very few players better than him at scoring goals from midfield."

Allardyce's views on Nolan are shared by bookmakers, with one pricing him at 50/1 to make the World Cup - the same odds offered on Arsenal teenager Chuba Akpom and West Ham's Elliott Lee, who has just one Premier League appearance to his name, heading to Brazil.

England could do worse than to look at the east Londoners to bolster their squad, though.

Against Southampton they started seven English players, with Mark Noble's fine midfield display complemented by goals from the previously-capped Matt Jarvis and Carlton Cole.

"We all know how much praise has been heaped on Rickie Lambert, Jay Rodriguez and Adam Lallana about the goals they've scored and the way they've scored them," Allardyce said.

"But it's our lads up front - it's Kevin Nolan, Carlton Cole, Matt Jarvis and their quality which has outshone Southampton.

"That's the reason why we've won 3-1, because we all know how good we are at defending.

"We had a big disappointment after just a few minutes when we gave away a free-kick and lost a goal, but in the end it's an outstanding victory."

Southampton may have lost the match, ending a six-match unbeaten run, but it was not for the want of trying.

Saints managed 25 shots and, in truth, were unfortunate to leave the capital without anything to show for their endeavours.

Next up is a home clash with Liverpool next weekend - a match they expect to head into buoyed by several England call-ups.

Lambert, Lallana and Rodriguez will hope to be involved again, while 18-year-old left-back Luke Shaw is expected to be included for the first time when the squad to face Denmark is announced.

Jack Cork, Calum Chambers, James Ward-Prowse and Nathaniel Clyne have also been name-checked by Hodgson, although Saints manager Mauricio Pochettino would not be drawn on their prospects.

"After a defeat it is quite hard to analyse every single individual player," he said.

"It is clear that Roy Hodgson and his assistants have been to many of our games and know our players quite well already."



comments powered by Disqus

Most Popular News

News & Update