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I’m a Premier League cult hero who started playing instrument as I was bored.. now I’m targeting Premier League boss job

NEWCASTLE hero Nolberto Solano is itching to get a management or coaching opportunity in English football.

Since quitting as a player 12 years ago, he has managed four clubs in three countries — his native Peru, Canada and Sweden.   

Nolberto Solano is targeting a coaching job in the Premier League

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Nolberto Solano is targeting a coaching job in the Premier LeagueCredit: Getty

He was also Peru’s assistant boss when they qualified for their first World Cup finals for 36 years in Russia back in 2018.  

The 49-year-old is now living back in his “second home” in England and believes that he has the experience in management to be involved in this country.

He said: “I am proud of the fact I was the first-ever Peruvian player to play in the Premier League.

“I fell in love with the game here and I have a big desire to be involved in management and coaching in this country.”

After just 15 minutes of chatting with the ex-Toon star,  you can see why he became such a popular player at St James’ Park.

However, behind his bubbly personality hides a steely dedication and determination to be as successful in the dugout as he was on the pitch.

Solano said: “I am the youngest of seven — so  me and my siblings were just always playing football. 

“It was my father who really helped me get my breakthrough.

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“He was a taxi driver and, during one of his fares, talked to a football contact at Sporting Cristal and suggested that they give me a trial. I must have impressed because I made my debut for them when I was  17.

“We won the equivalent of the Premier League in Peru three seasons in a row — in 1994, 1995  and 1996.

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“When the opportunity to move to Boca Juniors in Argentina came up in 1997, I jumped at the chance.

“I felt it was another step in my career. Even better, when I joined,  Diego Maradona and Claudio Caniggia had returned to the club, so I spent as much time as I could watching and learning from them.”

His big chance to play in England came through an agent, Tony Henry, who had worked with Kenny Dalglish.

Solano added: “Moving here was a huge change in so many ways.

“I ‘learned’ the language mainly through the dressing-room talk, with most of the swear words first, followed by the rest later!

“Shortly into Kenny’s second season as boss at Newcastle, he was replaced with Ruud Gullit.

“The club was going through a lot of player transition so it was  difficult to get any sort of continuity with our results.  

“Then Sir Bobby Robson arrived at St James’ in 1999 and the place got a real buzz back.   

Solano has already had managerial roles in Peru, Canada and Sweden

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Solano has already had managerial roles in Peru, Canada and SwedenCredit: Getty

“But my one huge disappointment from my eight years at the club in two spells, was that I was never able to help the club lift any trophies, which the fans absolutely deserve.

“I also had enjoyable spells at Aston Villa and West Ham, before spending a season at Larissa in Greece and back to Peru and Universitario.  

“I was tempted back to England again through Nigel Pearson, who was at Leicester in 2010, and when he moved to Hull he was keen for me to join him there.   

“If I have one regret from my playing career it is that I played  95 times for my country — but I could have played many more.

“Instead, I stayed with my clubs, missing friendlies with Peru.

“It should have been 120 to 130 international games.

“Over the last 12 years I have learned so much about management and I am ready and prepared for my next chance.” 

A smiling Solano also talks animatedly about his love of salsa and playing the trumpet.

The Peruvian made 315 appearances and became a cult hero at Newcastle

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The Peruvian made 315 appearances and became a cult hero at NewcastleCredit: Getty Images – Getty

He said: “As a kid at school I always had a fascination about playing a brass instrument.

“So while in Argentina and feeling a bit bored after training, I just thought I would try and learn  to play.   

“Then I came to England and after a few months of living here, I overheard one of my neighbours playing music — the piano and violin.

“I  went and knocked on their door and told them about the music and how I wanted to learn to play the trumpet and if they knew anybody who could help me.

“The next thing I had a rat-a-tat on my door and these two lovely guys — one with a trumpet and the other a bass — walked in, sat me down and taught me.

“They are still great friends to this day, they come round to dinner.   

“Even today, I’m nothing great with a trumpet.   

“Let’s put it this way, if I stood  in the street and played the trumpet, I don’t think that many people would leave money — only possibly in sympathy! 

“But I love the sound. I’m a real salsa music lover. I like to feel I’m a very sociable, happy person and I think salsa is upbeat and happy like me.”

He also featured in the Premier League for Aston Villa and West Ham

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He also featured in the Premier League for Aston Villa and West HamCredit: News Group Newspapers Ltd

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