Kevin Nolan: ‘Young English managers have to believe there’s still room for us at the top’

The former West Ham midfielder discusses how he has transformed Notts County as player-manager, why he is happy to be likened to Sam Allardyce and his Champions League ambitions

It is a sign of Notts County’s recent transformation that their self-assured manager cannot get into his own team. At 35, Kevin Nolan is younger than some of his squad members but the former Premier League midfielder, who is registered to play, knows the side sitting top of League Two are doing pretty well without him. “At the minute I’m not in physical condition to play, that’s my excuse, but I don’t think I’d get in the team even if I was,” he says with a grin.

Sitting in his office, Nolan reflects on a remarkable year. Notts County were in a state of “intensive care” according to the owner, Alan Hardy, when he bought the club in January. They were in serious debt, under a transfer embargo and in danger of slipping out of the Football League for the first time, having lost 10 league games in a row. Hardy’s first move was to appoint the inexperienced Nolan; he wanted an instant impact and he certainly got one.

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