West Ham manager Sam Allardyce has praised captain Kevin Nolan and is hoping fellow Barclays Premier League managers continue to underestimate the contribution of the midfielder.
Nolan struck a late equaliser for the Hammers on Saturday as they salvaged a 1-1 draw against Sunderland. The 30-year-old played under Allardyce at Bolton and has been one of West Ham's best performers since their return to the top flight which has seen the east London club take eight points from their opening five games.
Former Newcastle boss Allardyce believes Nolan's record speaks for itself and also acknowledged the efforts of the club's co-chairmen David Sullivan and David Gold in signing the former England Under-21 international while the club were in the Championship. "No one should underestimate Nolan," he said.
"Look at his CV. Premier League, Premier League, Premier League - 10 goals, nine goals, 11 goals, nine goals etc. "I hope they (other clubs) underestimate him for the rest of the season and he will end up the joint top scorer like at Newcastle.
"He was great value for money in the Premier League but very expensive in the Championship - so give credit to David Sullivan and David Gold for spending that money on that sort of player."
Allardyce also believes the club have done well to sign the majority of their players for little to no money.
Matt Jarvis joined from Wolves for a fee reported to be in excess of £10million and a large loan fee is believed to have been paid to Liverpool for the services of Andy Carroll but, those two aside, Allardyce is pleased with the lack of money that has had to be spent.
"Most of our players are not very expensive in the Premier League," he said "(James) Collins was £1million, (Winston) Reid £2million, (Mohamed) Diame free, (Ricardo) Vaz Te £500k, Matt Taylor £2million. We spent our money wisely - with the passion we have and the team spirit, to evolve as a team, hopefully we can continue to grow."
Nolan scored the only goal of the game as West Ham beat Aston Villa on the opening day of the new league season and also opened the scoring in the first minute as West Ham beat Fulham 3-0 before the last international break. But the skipper is not resting on his laurels and will continue to work hard for the team.
"I've just got to keep doing what I do, working hard to be in the side, keep scoring goals and being committed," he said. "As soon as I stop doing that I won't be in the starting XI."
- Barclays Premier League
- Kevin Nolan