England manager Roy Hodgson picked Stewart Downing and Jordan Henderson ahead of West Ham skipper and midfielder Kevin Anthony Jance Nolan (30). ‘The Chicken Dancer’ has been one of the most consistent performers in the Premier League over the past eleven years whilst playing for Bolton, Newcastle and West Ham but he has still failed to win a cap for the Three Lions.
Nolan has represented England at various age levels (Under-18 and Under -21) but has been overlooked for a senior-level call-up by Sven-Goran Eriksson, McClaren and Fabio Capello. And now Hodgson has followed suit.
How has Kevin Nolan never made it into any England squad for a mere exhibition cap at the least? He has played 15 seasons in English football and 11 of those seasons in the top flight, captained all three sides he’s played for and scored goals consistently for a number of years (97 goals from midfield).
Nolan joined Sam Allardyce’s West Ham last season and soon after his arrival he led the team to an instant return to the Premier League. Nolan became the first player to score a hat-trick against The Black Cats in a Tyne-Wear derby since Peter Beardsley in 1985. The man synonymous with the ‘quack’ (his chicken celebration), his routine after each goal, has scored 5 goals in 16 English Premier League appearances this season.
The Liverpool born player could switch allegiance to the Koninklijke Nederlandse Voetbal Bond (KNVB) of Oranje due to his ancestry if the England boss continues to ignore him (if he makes the squad, with the wealth of midfield talent available to the Netherlands outfit). A Dutch great grandfather makes him eligible to represent Louis Van Gaal’s Oranje.
But the most likely outcome is that Nolan will try his luck with the Football Association of Ireland as he is also eligible to play for Robbie Keane’s men. Nolan could step onto the international scene if either of Van Gaal or Giovanni Trapattoni decides to select him.
What more should Nolan do to earn a cap for England? With players like Downing (4 goals for Liverpool in 2 seasons, with his only goal this season coming in the Europa league and an abysmal assists record to match) and Henderson (struggling to make cut the grade at Liverpool, albeit his age makes it reasonable to believe that his best years may well be way ahead of him) all earning England caps it remains elusive just what more Nolan has to do to catch Hodgson’s eye.