Joey Barton has backed his former Newcastle United team-mate Kevin Nolan to be a success as manager after the former Toon skipper took over the reins at Leyton Orient – as he’s learned from Sam Allardyce.
Nolan was named as Orient’s player-manager on a two-and-a-half-year deal, replacing Ian Hendon, who was sacked by the Sky Bet League Two side following a poor run of results.
Nolan, 33, had been training with the O’s since leaving West Ham in August and will now take on his first managerial role at the Matchroom Stadium.
Barton was shocked to hear his old Newcastle colleague was venturing into the management world, but backed him to be a success.
However, Barton, who nearly joined Nolan’s old club West Ham in the summer, believes it will be hard for him to combine the roles of player and manager.
“I’m very surprised - obviously I was at West Ham for a short period in the summer and we were speaking and I honestly didn’t see it coming,” the Burnley midfielder said.
“He looked as lean as I’ve ever seen him, I thought he had lot to offer as a player, I still think he has.
“If anyone I played with was going to be ready for it, Nobby’s always had a wise head on young shoulders. He’s the best captain I’ve played for by a mile, he’s as good of a man as I’ve been in a dressing room with, he’s someone I consider a real close friend and somebody I think will be very, very good at the next transition because he’s just a really good person.
“It will be interesting to watch. I don’t know how he’s going to be. He’s been with Big Sam (Allardyce) for so long – you’re going to pick up good habits from being with a manager that has had success over such a long period as Sam. It’s a wonderful start to his next phase.
“I know he’s going in as player-manager but I’m not sure how he’s going to handle that because I can’t remember anyone doing it really well since Kenny Dalglish. No doubt Nobby will find a way around it.
“He has all the skillsets to be very, very successful. You wish him the best and I’ll be looking for Leyton Orient results now after all the teams I’ve played for on a Saturday.”