Nolan: Carroll's a changed man
Sun, 11 Nov 2012 11:15:00
West Ham captain Kevin Nolan believes he played a part in getting Andy Carroll's career back on track when the pair were Newcastle team-mates.
Nolan and Carroll have been reunited at Upton Park this season and travel to St James' Park to take on Newcastle on Sunday.
During his time at Newcastle, Carroll was involved in a number of off-field incidents that threatened to derail his promising career.
Eventually Carroll moved in with Nolan, who claims the move had an impact on Carroll's progression and now sees his friend as a far more mature person.
"When something goes on it gets exploded 10 times and with Andy up there it was magnified a thousand times," Nolan said.
"A friend of ours rang me and said he just needs a place to live because he is on the way to buying a house and he is just staying in a hotel.
"Obviously I was big mates with Andy at the time and I was captain of the club and things like that and I think I was the only one stupid enough to say yes, and I knew he could cook.
"I just said, and he knew himself, that he had to keep himself out of those situations and he has learned so much.
"There is a different lad standing in that dressing room now than what there was when I first walked into Newcastle - there is a man in there now who can look after himself."
Nolan and Carroll will face their former employers tomorrow, with midfielder Nolan hoping for a decent reception.
England forward Carroll received a mixed response from the Newcastle fans on his return for Liverpool last season but Nolan suspects he is still held in high regard in the north east.
"That is his town, that is his football club - you're playing in your home town and all of his mates are going to be in the crowd," Nolan said.
"For 90 minutes they might boo him but he goes up to Newcastle every other week and they are nice and all go up to have a photo.
"I'm sure on Sunday we will get a bit of stick but after the game the respect will be there."
West Ham boss Sam Allardyce was instrumental in bringing the friends back together on the pitch at West Ham and Nolan does not underestimate the impact the 58-year-old has had on his career.
He said: "I spoke to Sam regularly throughout my career because I was a pup when I first met him and he was the one who brought me through.
"He is like your footballing dad, someone who has brought me through and the opportunities he has given me have been fantastic and I can't thank him enough for that.
"That is why when I did get the call to say Sam would like me to come here, I know we were in the Championship, but it was a no-brainer for me."
Even though he has built a reputation as a fully committed and goalscoring midfielder, Nolan remains uncapped by England - something that may always haunt him.
"It does hurt I haven't got one I must admit and it does hurt a bit but it is something I have got to live with and I'm a big boy," he said.
"I don't know what more I can do to be quite honest, I've scored goals consistently for a number of years, I dropped down a division but consistently scored goals down there.
"I think I have at least deserved a call-up and a chance to prove myself at that level."