Kevin Nolan.

A man the majority of West Ham fans love to hate, but whether you like him or not since joining the club he as netted 30 goals in 120 games in all competitions, placing him amongst the top scorers list in consecutive seasons. But, with the likes of Mauro Zarate, Enner Valencia & Diafra Sakho as well as the untamed Ravel, I am lead to ask, has the number four lost his place in the Hammers starting eleven?

At 32 years of age, it is fair to say Nolan has somewhat lost his pace and sharpness in behind the top man. The same happened to ex-England captain and fellow scouser Steven Gerrard. To fix the issue however we saw him fall back into a defensive midfield role, so surely Kevin Nolan can do the same, can’t he?

But we’ve currently got Mark Noble, Alex Song and Cheikou Kouyate at Sam Allardyce’s disposal who can all play that role a lot more effectively than Nolan. So any questions as to whether club captain Noble could possible replace one of these are surely absurd.

Despite this, however, the strong relationship between player and manager could see such events happen. Time after time we have seen it. So when all seems said and done, West Ham always find a way to surprise you. Could this be the next surprise?

Personally I feel it is time to bring through players such as Rave and the ever improving Diafra Sakho. If that is at the expense of Kevin Nolan, then so be it, changes are integral to a winning formula, proven by the behind closed doors game against Ipswich Town.

Understandably the quality of the opposition and the game are nothing like that of the premier league, but after footage of an incredible ‘Barcelona esc’ goal between Ravel, Alex Song and Difara Sakho circulated the internet, I and the majority of the Irons faithful where left baying for more of the same when the Premier League returns. A feat that – in my opinion- cannot be reached with Kevin Nolan in the team.

So with Nolan edging towards a good level of fitness, how long will it be before Hammers fans up and down the country will be once again pleading for his exclusion from the first eleven?

Up the Irons.