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Ironside: Roy Hodgson has a West Ham blind spot

West Ham United's Kevin Nolan (left) with team-mate Mark Noble (right). Photo credit: Daniel Hambury/PA wire West Ham United's Kevin Nolan (left) with team-mate Mark Noble (right). Photo credit: Daniel Hambury/PA wire

Chris Wilkerson, London24 West Ham blogger
Wednesday, November 14, 2012
3:10 PM

The England squad has proved to be of far more interest than tonight’s friendly against Sweden.

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About our blogger

Name: Chris Wilkerson

Twitter handle: @The_Wilkerson

Regular Attendee

Favourite player: Mark Noble or Winston Reid

Most memorable game: Playoff Final

Predicted finish: 12th

New faces are breaking through into Roy Hodgson’s set-up and younger players making are their breakthrough onto the international scene, while Everton’s Leon Osman looks set to gain his first cap at the age of 31.

Yet there is not one single West Ham United player in the squad for the upcoming match.

Andy Carroll made it in recently when he had barely recovered from injury, but now he is surplus to requirements, even though Wayne Rooney has pulled out due to injury and England face the side he scored his wonderful header against at Euro 2012.

While Carroll may not have scored yet in our colours, he has commanded that lone striker’s role with authority, power and an assured touch in the air and on the ground.

"The one that grates with many of us is seeing West Ham’s own Mark Noble overlooked for players like Jonjo Shelvey and Tom Huddlestone"

Chris Wilkerson on Hammers stars ommitted from the England set-up

Maybe the two more notable names for West Ham fans are ones that those outside the club are a little less interested in.

Firstly, the club has benefitted hugely from a consistent amount of goals in the last two seasons. They are pretty much coming from one man, our top scorer and captain Kevin Nolan.

His form is not some new phenomenon either; he has had that knack for scoring goals from midfield for years. However, Kevin is 30 years old and still uncapped.

He’s won West Ham games this year, and last too, with that instinct, but while Osman fits the picture with England, Hodgson deems Nolan not even worth a place on the training pitch with the likes of Steven Gerrard and co.

The one that grates with many of us is seeing West Ham’s own Mark Noble overlooked for players like Jonjo Shelvey and Tom Huddlestone.

Mark has played sensationally so far this term, covering more ground than any other midfielder and maintaining fantastic passing and tackling stats.

Nolan may not fit with this progressive style the media screams for, the short pass and move game with possession the premium, but Noble has adapted his game in the past few years to make this his bread and butter.

He has learned when to pass short and when to try riskier options, and is becoming far more aware of his surroundings and how to make himself an option for whoever is in possession.

It is not like either of these players are playing for a team that has had little impact in the Premier League. Both have vast experience in the top flight and this year we are flying, all the way up in sixth place, ahead of the likes of Arsenal, Tottenham and Liverpool.

It feels to me like we have two or three players who should be gutted at not being in that squad and I suppose that is one positive we can take from this – the fact we are back in the Premier League with players who deserve a place in the England squad. The other is that we’ll suffer no injuries from pointless friendlies and training sessions either.

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