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Last Updated: Friday, 20 April 2007, 06:29 GMT 07:29 UK
Kevin Nolan column
The Kevin Nolan column
By Kevin Nolan
Bolton captain

The Professional Footballers' Association awards are announced in London on Sunday.

Paul Scholes in action for Manchester United
Scholes always has time and space on the ball, a sure sign of a quality footballer - he is great to watch

The votes were cast towards the end of January and for all the obvious reasons I do think it would be helpful if the voting could take place later in the season.

With so much of the campaign left when we cast our vote we run the risk of overlooking a player who makes the most impact at the business end of the season.

The awards take place before the season has finished and, often, with so much still to be decided.

I'm sure there are logistical issues why the voting and awards dinner happen when they do but it would be good if the ceremony, which takes place in London, could be rotated around different parts of the country.

The actual process of voting is administered by the PFA club rep, in our case Gary Speed.

He left a slip of paper on all our lockers with the various fields that required filling in.

Some people took their forms home but I dealt with it at work.

I probably had mine for a couple of days before I handed it back to Gary. I talked with several of the players about who I was thinking about voting for.

The votes, by the way, are not anonymous, with each player putting his name on the form.

My vote for the Player of the Year went to Manchester United midfielder Paul Scholes.

After his injury problems last season he has been like a new signing for United this campaign and has been in fantastic form.

He is a major reason why Sir Alex Ferguson's team are having such a good year.

Scholes is a great player, who is great to watch.

He always has time and space on the ball, a sure sign of a quality footballer, and always seems to choose the right time to shoot or pass.

I know that he is often criticised for his tackling but, given it is about the same standard as mine, I would always defend it!

There was an unrealistic burden of pressure placed on the England cricket team

Paul is also a quiet family man who never seeks the spotlight and keeps his opinions very much to himself. I really respect that about him.

Cristiano Ronaldo has also been top class and is up for both the top award and the Young Player of the Year. I voted for him in the latter category.

The big disappointment of the week came on Tuesday.

I watched England's decisive World Cup cricket match against South Africa at my mum's house and by about 6pm, with England languishing at about 121-8, I left in a bit of a sulk.

I really felt for the England players because there was such an unrealistic burden of expectation placed upon them.

There was so much pressure placed on their shoulders that I think it made it difficult for them to perform to their maximum potential.

It's the same with all the major England teams - one bad performance and they are absolutely hammered.

I think there is a need for a sense of perspective - after all in football, rugby and cricket how many major tournament victories have the three teams managed?

There are some good young players in the England cricket team.

Hopefully, the thrashing to South Africa will prove to be a blessing in disguise because the team can now rebuild from square one and bring through the promising talent.


Hi Kevin,
Which actor would you have in a film about your life, and why?
Des O Gorman, UK

Al Pacino - no question.

I think he is absolute class as an actor. I have seen a lot of his films and think that he's so talented he would be able to do a pretty decent Scouse accent.

Hi Kevin,
I struggle with accuracy on my bad foot - how often do top level players practise shooting with their weak foot?
Matt French, England

I don't just focus on my weaknesses but also work on improving the things I do well.

My weaker foot is my left and sometimes in a certain match situation I might decide against shooting with it.

If this happens I will often work on it in training, trying out the type of shots I have instinctively opted against in a game.

When I use my weaker foot I concentrate on keeping my head over the ball and striking through it as hard as I can.

Hi Kevin,
Have you ever said anything in an interview that you have regretted?
Ryan Dobson, England

A very, very good question.

I have often said things in interviews that have been badly misquoted. The message has sometimes not been conveyed as planned.

I'm going to have a think over the next week and get back to you.

Great column, Kevin.
When a player is sent off, what is the procedure once he leaves the pitch? Do you clean up and go up to the stands or wait in the dressing room in your kit?
John Howland, USA

When I was sent off against Blackburn earlier in the season it was almost at the end of the game. After returning to the dressing room I did not have time to do anything other than contemplate what had happened before the rest of the team arrived after the final whistle.

I imagine that if players are dismissed early in a match they would have a shower, get changed and then try to watch the remainder of the game on a television somewhere else in the stadium.

  • 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.

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