December 18 2013 Latest news:
Dave Evans, West Ham Correspondent
Monday, October 21, 2013
Hammers midfielder Mark Noble is at the top of his game, but is never mentioned in dispatches for England
Amid the clamour and excitement at the emergence of Ravel Morrison in the West Ham midfield in the last few weeks, it would be easy to overlook the form of one of the team’s more experienced players.
But once again on Saturday as the Hammers went down fighting against the quality and skills of Manchester City, it was Mark Noble and not Morrison who was leading the fight to get them back into the game.
The 26-year-old already has over 250 appearances in claret and blue under his belt and add to that his experience with England from under-16 all the way to under-21 level, it is hard to think why his name has never really come up in dispatches when talking about Roy Hodgson’s England squad.
So if Morrison is being talked about, why not West Ham’s longest serving current player? Noble himself laughs when asked about his international prospects.
“I’m not going around shouting that I should be in the squad and all that because I am not that sort of person,” he said after Saturday’s 3-1 home defeat by Manchester City.
“I have obviously played in the Premier League week-in, week-out, since I was about 19 and played at a good level. If it happens, it happens, but I am just going to keep on enjoying my football, getting on the ball, enjoying passing and creating stuff and if it happens, it happens.”
Noble certainly seems to be enjoying himself in the Sam Allardyce no striker formation, which seems well suited to his style of play.
“I am over the moon really with the way things are going for me,” he said. “I just love going out there and playing.
“Obviously it is always a little bit special against the top teams because you want to show how good you are and compete and I feel like I have been doing that and I am just enjoying playing football at the minute.”
Noble was the man of the match in the magnificent win at Spurs and despite the defeat against City on Saturday he was still at the heart of much that was good in the West Ham play, but in the end it wasn’t to be for Noble or the Hammers.
“We had a good go in the second half,” he said. “In fact we had a couple of half chances in the first half, where if the ball dropped we could have bundled it in and we might have got ahead.
“But a couple of great pieces of skill from Aguero did us. Sometimes against teams like Man City you have got to ride your luck, but they scored a couple of great goals and we got beat by the better team in the end.”
There was one glimmer of hope for the Hammers as they put on some pressure after going 2-0 down and on a different day they could even have got something out of the game as Nolan explained.
“Me and ‘Nobby’ (Kevin Nolan) said it on the pitch when they scored their second goal, we were going to push Ravel and Mo right up and let them press the back four,” he said. “It seemed to work a little bit better, we got a foothold in the game, we got a goal and at that point it could have gone any way. But it was a great piece of skill from Aguero and David Silva which finished us off.”
Defeat leaves West Ham precariously close to the bottom three once again and after last season they lost just four home games all season, this time round they have already been beaten three times.
So is Noble worried?
“Yes, but hopefully we can now win a few more away games and even it out like that,” said the Canning Town born Hammers fan. “We lost against Everton, I got sent off and Baines put two into the top corner and that doesn’t happen every week, against Stoke we were pool but probably should have got a point, but Pennant bends one in the top corner.
“We came off the back off a great result against Spurs and though we lost to City, we can still go into the Swansea game confident. We have been playing well in all the games this season apart from Stoke where we wasn’t good.
“We are going to go in all week, train like we always do. We have got a great bunch of lads who enjoy each others company and we will all work hard for each other and try to get three points on Sunday.”
Noble is the sort of man you would want in the trenches, for his sense of humour, but also for his fighting qualities. So does he think that quality is up to international standard?
“I believe I am good enough,” he insisted. “I am not going around shouting that I should be in the squad, but I have seen the players we have had here who have been in the England set up and I believe that if I made that step up, I would be able to mentally and physically cope with it.”
Take note, Mr Hodgson!