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Last Updated: Thursday, 8 February 2007, 10:38 GMT
Kevin Nolan column
The Kevin Nolan column
By Kevin Nolan
Bolton captain

I was taking a bit of stick at Watford last weekend.

This often happens when Bolton have a corner because I always stand close to the goalkeeper.

A lot of fans think that I am trying to obstruct the keeper but I don't actually try to get in his way - what I am hoping to do is capitalise on any knockdowns or spills.

For long periods of a game I don't hear anything at all from the crowd but every now and again I hear an individual piece of, well, lets call it advice.

Kevin Nolan in discussion with Arsenal's Freddie Ljungberg (left) and Gilberto Silva
I talk a lot during games - quite often with opponents, though most of it is good banter

Often opposition supporters ask where my sisters are - the Nolan Sisters, geddit?

Just for the record, I don't have any sisters.

Anyway, last Saturday someone shouted something at me and I turned and grinned at him for several seconds.

Several of you sent e-mails asking me about it this week and all I can say is that I very much enjoy the banter.

There is no denying it, I talk a lot during games.

Premiership football is an intense and serious business but I often come up against former team-mates or players who I might have played alongside at junior international level.

During the course of a match we might have a bit of a chat about what we have been up to.

Most of my dialogue, however, is directed at the referee or my own team-mates.

I much prefer it when a referee will engage in conversation, even if only to tell me that I am completely wrong to protest a decision.

It seems to me that these days referees are more and more prepared to talk with players and I think that is not only to their credit but makes their job easier because players respond positively to that.

Sometimes opposition players complain to the referee suggesting that Bolton are a physical team who bully opponents and I try to make sure they are not influenced by that.

I try to do this in as light-hearted a way as possible and find that works better than shouting, something I have tried to curb this season.

Most of the time I spend talking on the pitch is with my team-mates.

Kevin Nolan (left) and Gary Speed
Gary Speed, Ivan Campo and I will often discuss a game during a break in play

If that means one of the lads giving me a kick up the backside, then fine.

As captain I also give out a lot of encouragement to players, make sure that they are on their game and give someone a push if I feel it is necessary.

I spend a lot of time talking with Gary Speed, who plays alongside me in midfield.

He is a vastly experienced player and I think we work well together. If I feel something needs improving on his side of the pitch I will tell him and vice-versa.

Gary, Ivan Campo and I will often come together when play stops following an injury or some other break in break and try to work out what is happening tactically in the game and how we can improve.

I am constantly looking around the pitch to make sure that the shape of the team is correct for the situation.

Every time the ball goes out of play I do this and after seven years working with the manager I know what shape he wants for goal kicks, corners, thrown-ins - all the possibilities that happen during a match.

It has almost become instinctive.

During a match a lot of my play is based in the attacking third and this is largely instinctive.

Knowing when and where to move in attack is something that comes fairly naturally to me but in the defensive aspects of my play I would say I am a lot more reactive - working out what gaps need filling or trying to track the run of an opposition player.

When I was younger this wasn't the strongest part of my game. I have worked to develop my defensive qualities and feel they have improved over the last year or so.

How I am feeling during a game is largely dependent on the score.

Some players talk about going into a 'zone' when they are playing but I don't think I change that much during a match - however I absolutely hate losing.

The years when Bolton struggled to survive in the Premiership helped to make me mentally stronger and I feel that has benefited me as my career has progressed.

I'm not easily ruffled during a match and with Bolton doing so well this season I have been in a happy mood more often than not out on the pitch.

I noticed a few of the home fans smiling after I grinned at the guy giving me stick at Watford.

I think you have to respond positively, I guess it is in my nature to do so, perhaps be a little cheeky, but it is also good for taking the sting out of a situation.

As a player, though, I tend to notice the groans - people getting on your back - more than the roars.

That said it is an incredible feeling when you walk out into a full stadium - it really can make a huge difference and raise the team.


Hi Kevin. I know footballers have strict diets but are you allowed curries. If so which one is your favourite?
Mohammed, England

Yes, we are allowed to eat curries - and I quite often have one on a Saturday night.

I like many different types of curry - I don't mind them hot but I'm quite partial to a mild, creamy one as well.

How much time is devoted in training to ball work? Do many players stay on for extra training?
Martin McCready, UK

Quite a few of our players do stay for extra training. This might be speed work, extra time spent in the gym work or something more technical.

I would say that most days we have about 90 minutes ball work. For instance on Wednesday we had an intense hour and a half session which was at a level of about 85% of what we would have done in a match.

We followed that with some gym work. Thursday's session will probably be more technical, focusing on shooting and other skills.

The ice bath you have after games - how long are you in for, do you go in up to your neck and what are the benefits?
Barry , England

We generally use them every day now.

After a game the maximum we spend in the ice bath is six minutes. The baths at the ground are quite shallow so we are generally in them up to our waist.

At the training ground, however, we have a dip pool and I generally go in it up to my neck - though I do keep my hands and arms out because otherwise it feels like they are going to fall off.

It is horrible when you start doing it but you do become accustomed to it and I do feel a lot better the next day now if I have had an ice bath.

Hi Kevin, great column. I was just wondering what music, if any, is played in your dressing-room to get you pumped up for games?
Jayo, UK

The dressing room was refitted last year and we have a sound system built in.

As skipper and one of the senior players I thankfully have some say at last over the sort of music that is played before a match.

I do not have one particular favourite type of music but at the moment The Killers, Green Day, Hard-Fi and Razorlight are all popular.

I constantly have Razorlight on the stereo at the moment.

Hi Kevin, great column. You say you love watching Godfather I. What do you think of the other two parts?
Amardeep Singh, Southampton UK

I love the first two films and could not separate them.

The third Godfather is not in the same class but I still enjoy watching it and have probably watched it as often as its superior predecessors.

  • 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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    Watford 0-1 Bolton
    03 Feb 07 |  Premiership


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