The Jon Nolan Factor
The Middlesbrough FC win saw Former Everton FC Reserve and Stockport County favourite Jon Nolan act the consummate defensive midfielder. He was everywhere, from the intelligent pick-pocket to the good old midfield gladiator with a sliding tackle on the dry grass that showed he is willing to compete for the cause. Nolan is looking forward to the Scunthorpe game with relish.
Thanks for reading Neil Gentleman-Hobbs.
Jon went through the Everton Youth system, making regular U18 and reserve appearances. Indeed many were surprised that he did not make the cut, His displays at County also went down well and, it is hard to believe the lad is still only 21. He was a marked man on Saturday, targeted by Boro for some rough stuff, yet he rose above it and went on to inspire a match winning performance.
Jon is key to the exciting attacking formation Simmo is trying to bring to Sincil Bank. The 4-2-3-1 set up is one of the hardest to set up against in world football at any level, yet it requires an awful lot of discipline from the two defensive midfield men of it is to shine. Their job is to provide cover for the back four by anticipating the counter as well as acting as the spring for counters of our own. With four men eager to pressure a simple or measured pass is key to hurt the opposition quickly. Wright, Yussuf, Connor Robinson and co, need the ball to feet and early.
Jon, clearly missed (rested ahead of the busy remaining home pre-season catalogue) against Sunderland, came back and did that against Boro. His energy, positional discipline, timing and distribution was so key. Missing Todd Jordan and Mo Fofana, Power was forced to play next to him, a waste in truth for the captain to have to come from deep. Yet beggars cannot be choosers and Fofana, as well as Todd, will need to fill in at the back during a 46 match marathon, given the size of the squad.
Many have already questioned the strength of the defence and the balance of the squad. Jon is there to provide that and did so on Saturday superbly. With key players coming back from injury in time for the new season, Dan Gray, Tom Miller and Todd Jordan can also all play defensive midfield as well as in the full-back positions. So the case for the defence and this so called imbalance is maybe not the foregone conclusion we fear.
Well played Jon, your looking great so far.
|Full name||Jon Nolan|
|Date of birth||22 April 1992 (age 21)|
|Place of birth||Huyton|
|Height/Weight||1.79 m (5 ft 10 in) 11 st 5lb (72kg)|
|Playing position||Midfield General|
|Contract: One Year (plus option)|