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ESPN FC  By ESPN staff

Kevin Nolan appointed as Leyton Orient player-manager

Former West Ham and Newcastle midfielder Kevin Nolan has been appointed as player-manager of League Two side Leyton Orient.

Nolan, 33, has signed a two-and-a-half year contract at Brisbane Road where he succeeds Ian Hendon, who was sacked after a run of one win in eight matches.

He had been a free agent after leaving West Ham in the summer, and a statement on the Orient website said the club had been impressed by his "hunger, desire and passion to succeed."

Nolan, who has made more than 500 career appearances, trained with Orient for two months after his departure from the Hammers.

The Os are 11th in League Two, having fallen down the table after a bright start to the season following their relegation from League One.

The east Londoners were top of the table after winning all their opening five games, but their slide in form led president Francesco Becchetti to make another change.

It means Nolan, who takes charge for the first time at Wycombe on Saturday, is the sixth different manager since the Italian took over in 2014.

Nolan's former teammate Joey 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."

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