Kevin Nolan’s continual inclusion highlights Sam Allardyce’s main weakness at West Ham

Kevin Nolan

Kevin Nolan keeps winning game time for West Ham, and that is damning indictment of Allardyce’s management.

Nolan, 32, is far past his best now, and is only a good option in the Premier League as a late substitute when seeing a game out.

There is no denying his influence in the Premier League, during impressive spells with Bolton, Newcastle and now the Hammers, and for a fairly long period of time in the mid-2000’s, the midfielder arguably deserved international recognition for England.

However, he is now ageing, and his style of play has not developed enough to keep up with his diminishing lack of physicality. He is a player who has always used his body to great effect, and that has not been able to continue in the last few seasons.

This year, especially, he has struggled.

In 30 games he has managed just one goal and one assist, and it appears as if he is only being included due to Sam Allardyce’s affection for him. It is no surprise that the Hammers were playing well when Nolan was out of the team, whilst their slump in form in the second half of the campaign has coincided with the attacking midfielder playing almost every single league fixture.

Unfortunately for the club, Nolan’s inclusion has largely been down to some serious injuries keeping key players out of the team. This has meant the ageing midfielder has had to feature, and has struggled whenever taking to the field.

Part of the blame lies with Nolan, having been unable to up his game for the Premier League, but really it should lie with Allardyce, who failed to complete the proper transfer business to ensure a competitive squad with strength in depth needed in the top flight of English football.

Over the summer, Allardyce completed the impressive signings of Aaron Cresswell, Cheikhou Kouyate and Diafra Sakho, who have all played admirably, but still left the squad thin on the ground.

Even after injuries hit the team and the form started falling off in the January transfer window, Allardyce did little to improve the strength in depth of his playing squad to keep them competitive and fighting for Europa League football.

Allardyce is a good manager, but he has proven this season that completing work in the transfer market has not been his forte whilst in charge at the Boleyn Ground. He is likely to leave the club this summer when his contract is not renewed, and although he has brought the club impressive performances on the field, it is his work off it that could be the deciding factor in his future.

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