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Last Updated: Wednesday, 18 October 2006, 18:21 GMT 19:21 UK
Kevin Nolan column
Kevin Nolan

By Kevin Nolan
Bolton captain

I first heard about the injuries to Petr Cech and Carlo Cudicini when I spoke to my dad on Saturday evening.

I had not been able to watch Chelsea's game at Reading because it was not available at the hotel we stayed at prior to our match at Newcastle on Sunday.

Petr Cech is stretchered off at Reading
There did not look to be anything malicious about Stephen Hunt's challenge on Petr Cech

After watching the match my dad thought that the injury to Cudicini looked more serious that the one sustained by Cech.

And when I saw the incident between Cech and Stephen Hunt on television for the first time I was surprised it resulted in such a serious injury.

I would just like to say that I wish Petr a full and speedy recovery.

As a professional footballer I can assure you there is nothing worse than being unable to do what you love most and, indeed, what you are paid to do - play football.

Hunt was making his first Premiership start for Reading and will have been keen to make a good impression on his manager, but there did not look to be anything malicious about his challenge.

I can tell you from experience that when you have a sniff of a goal in the opposition penalty area you are totally focused on the ball. I expect the goalkeeper to be fully focused on it as well.

If you think the keeper is going to reach the ball first you only have a split second to decide whether to try to jump out of the way or make that final attempt to get there first.

Jose Mourinho made some very strong comments after the game.

His controversial comments during his time in charge at Chelsea have definitely made the Premiership a more interesting place - but I think that over time he will see that there was no intent by Hunt to hurt his goalkeeper.

Last season there was an incident where Liverpool's Steven Gerrard stamped on my chest.

Emotions ran high afterwards and it turned into quite a big story.

Obviously I had to make a decision as to whether I thought it was deliberate or an accident.

At the final whistle I shook hands with Steven, who apologised and he explained that in no way was the incident deliberate.

I know Steven, we are mates, and I chose to accept his explanation.

A couple of days later, with the story rumbling on, he called me. Steven wanted to make it clear once again that despite all the reports flying around in the papers it had been an accident.

I told him that I just wanted the whole thing over and done with - and that if he needed me to back him up in any way than I would do.

Injuries are an inevitable part of football, especially given the speed at which the game is played.

Kevin Nolan (right) celebrates scoring with El-Hadji Diouf
The lads were giving El-Hadji Diouf a bit of stick in training last week about his lack of goals

I have fouled players on countless occasions - often it is because I have been beaten to the ball and thus it looks as though I have gone in a bit late.

Since I'm quite a big lad this must look fairly bad but I always try to make the referee aware it is predominantly a speed issue.

In fact, I honestly believe it is extremely rare for one professional to intentionally hurt another.

It is not something that I approve of and, as Bolton captain, if I thought that one of my players might be involved in such an incident I would definitely have a word.

That said that I just cannot see any of our squad getting involved in that sort of behaviour.

I was absolutely delighted with our 2-1 win at Newcastle. I thought we played brilliantly in the second half and could easily have scored three of four.

Bolton had never won at St James' Park in the Premiership before and I think it sends out a message that we really mean business this season.

The lads were giving El-Hadji Diouf a bit of stick in training last week about his lack of goals prior to the game so it was good to see him respond with two on Sunday.

However, he now has one more than me in the Premiership this season so I urgently need to put that right.

Sunday was not perfect though as Nicosia, the Sunday League team I am involved with, lost their FA Sunday Cup tie at Irlam FC on penalties.

When I got back from Newcastle I popped around to see a few of the players and they were gutted. They admitted they had been second best and deserved nothing from the match.

We desperately need a good performance this weekend to get Nicosia's season up and running.


Hi Kev, loving the column! I was just watching you beat Newcastle and saw you swapping shirts with Titus Bramble. I was wondering where you keep all your shirts and which player's shirt you've got is the best? Best of luck for the rest of the season!
M Spur, Burton, England

I know Titus quite well so we swapped shirts after the match.

I have loads of absolutely great shirts - most of the top players in the Premiership - but I must admit that most of them are in a bag at the moment.

I am in the process of sorting my house out and will eventually have them mounted properly.

The two players' shirts that I really want are Paul Scholes' and Ryan Giggs'.

Time and again something has happened that has prevented me from acquiring Scholes' shirt - either he has been subbed early or I have, or one of us has not been playing.

Hi Kevin.

If there was one rule in football you could change, what would it be and why?
Gary, Manchester

I don't like the way that players are so often booked after celebrating scoring.

Scoring a goal often results in a massive emotional release. To book a player for running over to his own fans seems wrong to me.

Another one concerns injuries. A player has to leave the field of play once he has received treatment from a physio.

This seems to me like punishing the team of the player who has been injured, often illegally.

Hi Kev,

Congratulations on your current form, keep up the good work.

What is the weirdest tactic that an opposing player has used to put you off your game?
Lindsay, Aus.

Very good question.

I'm not sure that there is anything particularly remarkable.

There are a lot of players who talk during games, trying to break your concentration and distract you from what you are focused upon.

Jimmy Bullard talks continually during games.

Last season he played for Wigan and if he was not in my ear then he was talking to Gary Speed. Honestly, he never stops.

I really like Bullard and was disappointed to hear about his injury earlier in the season. I hope we see him back soon.

Hello Kevin. I always enjoy your column.

I have a question to ask and it's a bit of a daft one. I'd like to know how players find out if they're in the team that day.

Does the boss put a team list up and that's how you find out or does he line you all up and pick like at school? It's something I've never grasped despite all the autobiographies I've read.
Kevin Meadowcroft, London, England

A lot of the players who have come to Bolton say that at previous clubs they only found out about team selection an hour or so before a game.

If Bolton are playing on a Saturday we often find out the team on a Thursday. This gives us the ability to prepare specifically for the forthcoming game.

  • Kevin will continue to answer a selection of your questions each week throughout the season. Send us your questions using the post form in the top right-hand corner.

  • Send Kevin your questions using this form and read his answers to a selection of last week's at the bottom of the page
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    14 Oct 06 |  Premiership
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    17 Oct 06 |  Chelsea
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    16 Oct 06 |  Bolton Wanderers
    Sissoko/Gerrard escape FA action
    03 Jan 06 |  Premiership
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    14 Dec 02 |  Middlesbrough


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