Football friends! The intertwined journeys of Nsiala and Nolan

PUBLISHED: 19:00 10 August 2018

Toto Nsiala and Jon Nolan have been team-mates at Everton, Grimsby, Shrewsbury and now Ipswich Town. Photo: ITFC

Toto Nsiala and Jon Nolan have been team-mates at Everton, Grimsby, Shrewsbury and now Ipswich Town. Photo: ITFC

Archant

The footballing journeys of Jon Nolan and Toto Nsiala are so intertwined, it’s no wonder one has started subconsciously imitating the other.

Born less than a month apart in 1995, both grew up in Liverpool and both were let go by Everton.

Both then dropped down into non-league and lost their way.

Both got their mojo back when working under Paul Hurst at Grimsby Town.

MORE: ‘I’ve always tried hard to prove people wrong’ – Nsiala ready for Championship challenge

Both then moved on to Football League clubs for a year – Nolan at Chesterfield and Nsiala at Hartlepool – before being reunited with Hurst at Shrewsbury.

It was fitting, therefore, that the pair joined Ipswich in a £2m double deal earlier this week having both handed in transfer requests.

“Toto and I shared the driving down from Liverpool to training last season,” said Nolan, speaking ahead of Town’s Championship game at newly-promoted Rotherham United tomorrow.

MORE: ‘It was the big turning point in my career’ - Nolan excited to be working under Hurst again

“He was living in Shrewsbury at the start but he moved back home to Liverpool halfway through the season. It wasn’t quite every day because we used to stay in a hotel on a Friday – a little treat for us.

“We spent a lot of time together and it’s been confirmed that we will be room-mates for our first Ipswich game at Rotherham on Saturday.

“But I wouldn’t go as far as saying we are inseparable – I like my own space every now and again and so does Toto.”

Nsiala jokes: “Me and Jon have known each other since we were 15/16. He’s just a great lad. I’ve probably spent too much time with him.

MORE: From Chalobah to Jackson - introducing Ipswich Town’s nine new faces

“Sometimes I go home and I’m acting like Jon and my missus doesn’t like it because he’s a grumpy one! It’s been great to progress with him.”

The modest Nsiala describes his game as ‘nothing special’, but Nolan disagrees.

“He’s a beast,” said the midfielder. “It’s rare to come across a centre-half with so much pace and when you add his power I’ve never seen anything like it. The fans are in for a treat there.”

On the strengths of his own game, Nolan – who looks to have been brought in as a direct replacement for Martyn Waghorn – added: “I’ll move things forward and I’m a good footballer. I’m not really a natural 10 but I can play in that position. I’m more of an eight, up and down, really.

MORE: Forward and centre-back wanted on loan after dramatic deadline day

“It’s my first opportunity to play in the Championship and one I’m going to grab with both hands.”

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