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High and dry

Filed: Friday, 24th August 2012
By: Staff Writer

Former West Ham United captain Nigel Reo-Coker is still unemployed - despite both the Football League and Premier League seasons having already started.

28-year-old Reo-Coker was the youngest West Ham captain ever to lead the club in an FA Cup Final when he led Alan Pardew's team out against Liverpool in 2006.

But just six years later, when he should be in his prime, he finds himself without a club having walked out of Bolton following their relegation from the Premier League at the end of the 2011/12 campaign.

Reo-Coker activated a clause in his contract allowing him to leave the Trotters in the event of their relegation. However since then he has been unable to find a new club, having failed to receive a single offer from a top flight club.

"There are a lot of top players still out there without a football team," he told a TV sports network. "It's the situation out there for a lot of players. That's the environment football is in at the moment.

"It's a new situation for me to be in but the season is only one week old. All I can do is keep my professional head on and continue to maintain my fitness levels and work hard.

"I still see myself as good enough for the Premier League; I'm a Premier League player. I've enjoyed every year I've played in the Premier League and made the most of it.

"I've been lucky enough to play there for so long now with a lot of games under my belt and a lot of experiences against the best players in the world. It's just the professionalism of keeping fit and making sure I'm ready for whatever will happen."

Reo-Coker left West Ham in 2007 after claiming that he had been "victimised" and been "hung out to dry" having learned that the club had dismissed an enquiry from Arsenal during the previous transfer window.

He was sold to Aston Villa during the summer for £8.5million but just two years into his contract was involved in a training ground dispute with manager Martin O'Neill that saw him ostracised by the club.

Having made just a further 40 appearances for Villa during the next two seasons he was allowed to leave the club on a free transfer at the end of his contract, following which he joined Bolton on a two-year deal.

But just half way through that deal he walked out on the club with the intention of remaining in the Premier League; a desire that remains unfulfilled despite the 2012/13 campaign having already started.

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