England coach Tord Grip believes Bolton's Kevin Nolan could be one of a 'new generation' of midfielders.
England coach Tord Grip believes Bolton's Kevin Nolan could be one of a 'new generation' of midfielders that will be vying for international recognition in the not-too-distant future.
And Sven's closest ally also believes that England's up and coming players need look no further than Chelsea's Frank Lampard as an example to follow in order to help them fulfill their potential.
Nolan has played an instrumental role in a season that has seen Bolton march all the way to Cardiff in the Carling Cup and the Liverpool-born midfielder's contribution has not gone unnoticed by the England coaching team.
"I've seen Kevin Nolan a few times and he is clearly a good footballer," Tord told us.
"He had good attributes as an offensive midfielder and has scored quite a few goals. Some cracking ones even.
"What we must say about midfielders though is that there is tough competition there. To get into the team, you need to get ahead of people like Beckham, Scholes, Gerrard, Lampard and Parker. And you have players such us Jenas, Butt, Dyer, Hargreaves and Joe Cole too.
"It is a challenge for the young players coming through but in three or four years, perhaps after the 2006 World Cup, we might be looking at a new generation of England players coming through."
As well as Nolan, Shaun Wright-Phillips, Johnnie Jackson and Stewart Downing have all caught Tord's eye this season, while he is also set to watch Jermain Defoe in action for Tottenham against Portsmouth on Saturday. However, it is a more mature Englishman, for whom Tord reserves his highest praise.
"I would say our young players should look at someone like Frank Lampard and see how hard he has worked at his game," he says of the man most believe to be the Premier League's most improved player. "He has an excellent work ethic and has used that to improve his game. He always had the vision and the technique but now he has the strength too. That is because he has worked so hard."
You can get first news of the England squad to face Portugal here on TheFA.com on the evening of Saturday 14 February.