Noble: West Ham subs played a vital role at Norwich
13:30 15 February 2016
PA/Press Association Images
Hammers captain Mark Noble revealed his reason for marching forward to score that equaliser
West Ham captain Mark Noble knows when it is the right move to make a run forward and when not to bother – and after he earned the Hammers a point at Norwich it seems the time to take a chance is when Dimitri Payet has got the ball.
“If it was anyone else I probably wouldn’t have made that run from the halfway line,” said Noble with a smile. “I probably wouldn’t have got it from anyone else, but with Dimi, you know what is going to happen and he laid it on for me perfectly.”
He certainly did, but he still had to finish the chance, which he did with relish for his third goal of the season.
“I just concentrated on getting a good strike on the ball and fortunately it went in and earned us a point.”
At 2-0 down with 20 minutes to go, it certainly didn’t look like being West Ham’s day, but Noble put his finger on the turning point and that was the substitutes.
“All three of them made a difference,” said the 28-year-old captain. “That is the great thing about having a big squad. When you need help, you can bring on players like that and change the game and that is what they did for sure.”
They certainly made a difference after another stuttering start for West Ham at the beginning of both halves. They got away with it in the first half, but after the break they seemed to crumble under the Norwich pressure.
“They got a good goal, but it was our fault again because we lost the ball,” admitted Noble.
“But to be honest I don’t really want to talk about the negatives because this week we have played 120 minutes against Liverpool and then come back from 2-0 down here and that is fantastic and shows you what heart and what belief the lads have got.
“I am sure there were tired legs out there, it is only natural. We had injuries on Tuesday and most of us have played every minute recently. But it is the strong belief we have and you have seen it over the last six or seven months that we have come back from losing positions and it has been the basis of the season.”
It was certainly a good comeback, especially after that mammoth FA Cup tie on Tuesday while Norwich rested.
“We were sixth in the league and we could easily have said ‘we ain’t got to win’ but we don’t really think like that,” said Noble. “We battled all the way to the 90th minute and if anyone deserved to win it was probably us.”
Nobody battled more than the captain and though England coach Roy Hodgson says he is happy with his midfield, he would be foolish to rule Noble out completely.
“You are a better player when you play with better players,” said the skipper. “Especially this year I have been in the same team as some very special players and it has certainly helped my game.”