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Nolan: Orient captured my heart

17:30 22 January 2016

New Leyton Orient player-manager Kevin Nolan (right) alongside president Francesco Becchetti (pic: LOFC).

New Leyton Orient player-manager Kevin Nolan (right) alongside president Francesco Becchetti (pic: LOFC).

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New player-manager at Brisbane Road believes he will be a big success with the League Two club

New Leyton Orient player-manager Kevin Nolan admits the League Two club have captured his heart and that is the reason why he has become a manager at such a young age.

The 33-year-old former West Ham United captain addressed the media today for the first time at Brisbane Road since his appointment yesterday.

He spoke confidently and revealed what he aims to achieve at the O’s under the ownership of Francesco Becchetti.

No manager has lasted longer than seven months under the Italian with the recently departed Ian Hendon staying for that length of time.

But Nolan firmly believes he will be at the club for the duration of his two-and-a-half year deal and explained just why he has taken a job in the fourth tier of English football.

“It is mad because when you do get to have a step back from football, to have the feeling that I have had over the last few days is really good,” said the new Orient player-manager. “I am just excited about tomorrow and the week following it. Hopefully I can get us to start moving up the table.

“Being in management at 33 is where the surprise comes. There could have been a number of clubs that said do you want to manage here, but it is this club that has captured my heart and head if you like.

“It has made me think ‘well I can really make a difference here’ and I think it is a fantastically well run club and it has all the facilities that you need.”

Nolan admits he has been given a huge head start compared to most managers because he has been training with the O’s.

He was with Orient for three months until the end of 2015 before taking the role this week after failing to agree a deal to sign for the club as just a player in December.

“What some managers don’t have when you first start off is that they don’t know the players, don’t know the surroundings that you are in, but I have all that and know all that,” said Nolan.

“I knew what I was coming into on the first day. I was up all hours making sure that I had my first training session ready. I was watching videos, I was watching everything that I possibly could have on Leyton Orient over the last three weeks and what has happened with Wycombe.

“I came into it on Thursday well prepared and I think the staff were quite surprised at how prepared I was and what I wanted to do. I held a meeting with the players and told them exactly what is expected of them now.

“Over the last two days we have got a good couple of days of training in and I think that was needed. We have ironed out a few things that I also felt was needed and hopefully we will see the results and the perfect result tomorrow.”

Nolan explained how Orient’s president has got to know him over the last few months and seen what type of character he is.

He believes that helped him get the job above other candidates that might have had more experience than the former Newcastle United captain.

“I have got confidence in my own ability, I always have. This is a challenge and I love challenges as I said before. I truly believe that I can take this club forward and I wouldn’t have taken this job if I didn’t think that,” said Nolan.

“I am a driven lad and I think that is what Francesco has seen in me. He got to know me as I was training along with his support team who were at the training ground every day and there for me if I needed anything.

“We as a club can move in the right direction and I believe I can be the man to do that. Hopefully we will break the seven month mould and get it to a two-and-a-half years, at least.”

Orient’s new player-manager was asked if he has had to swallow his pride by coming down to League Two football, but Nolan refuted that and insisted he can be proud of his record in the Premier League.

What he does want to prove is that he is good enough to be a manager, adding: “I have proven myself as a Premier League player with three promotions from the Championships and I think there is only 33 or 34 players in the history of the Premier League who have played over 400 games so that speaks for itself.

“I have nothing to prove to anyone, all I need to do now is prove to myself that I can do this. I am thankful that Francesco and his team believe that I can do it.

“This is just another step in the ladder that I have always wanted to take and I am just thankful that this fantastic club has given me this opportunity. There is real excitement and thankfulness because it is such an unbelievable club to be starting my managerial career at so I am just looking forward to it.”

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