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West Ham skipper fumes at missed opportunity at Southampton

PUBLISHED: 12:00 08 February 2016

West Ham United's Mark Noble (right) gives the thumbs up to the away fans after the Barclays Premier League match at St Mary's Stadium, Southampton.

West Ham United's Mark Noble (right) gives the thumbs up to the away fans after the Barclays Premier League match at St Mary's Stadium, Southampton.

PA/Press Association Images

Hammers captain Mark Noble makes his 350th appearance in claret and blue

EPA Exclusive - West Ham United's Marlon Harewood (left) celebrates his goal with team-mates Mark Noble (centre) and Nigel Reo-Coker during their Carling Cup first round match at Upton Park, LondonEPA Exclusive - West Ham United's Marlon Harewood (left) celebrates his goal with team-mates Mark Noble (centre) and Nigel Reo-Coker during their Carling Cup first round match at Upton Park, London

West Ham skipper Mark Noble was not a happy man in Southampton on Saturday night. It was his 350th appearance in claret and blue, but things certainly did not go the way he was planning.

The frustrating thing for the 28-year-old was that it should have gone the Hammers’ way.

“We should have got something out of that game for sure,” he said following the 1-0 defeat. “But it is what happens. Sometimes it just literally doesn’t drop for you.”

Some of it was self inflicted of course. It was yet another poor start by West Ham, allowing the Saints to take control as early mistakes cost them a goal and it could have been more.

r-l; West Ham United's Chris Powell celebrates victory with teammate Mark Nobler-l; West Ham United's Chris Powell celebrates victory with teammate Mark Noble

“We are a little bit disappointed with the first goal,” said the Canning Town boy. “It was a little bit of a slow start again and they are proving costly.

“We have been over it and trying to put our finger on why it happens, but it is hard. If it was just sluggish stars then we can say we need to do this or that, but we started fantastically against Man City and against Liverpool.

“We are off the cuff at the minute and we have been all season, but it is nothing to be down about. We lost the game and we are disappointed in the dressing room of course we are, but we have done ourselves proud over the last 10 or 12 games with the players we have missed.”

There is the captain coming out in Noble’s character. The experience of all those 350 games, the highs and the lows, real lows, means he knows that this football is a rollercoaster ride.

West Ham United's Mark Noble celebrates scoring the opening goal of the game with team matesWest Ham United's Mark Noble celebrates scoring the opening goal of the game with team mates

“We have had a lot of games this season where we have had two or three chances and scored two goals,” said the captain. But here we have put in maybe 30 crosses and not one of them landed for us – sometimes it goes like that.

“If we had played poorly, I would put my hands up and say we didn’t deserve anything, but we played well enough to get something.”

By the end, West Ham had three strikers on the pitch and the ball was endlessly being hurled into the box, but all to no avail.

“It was a case of just chuck everyone on at the end,” said Noble. “Emenike had a good chance with his header and it was nice see both him and Andy Carroll out there, but it wasn’t to be.

“But we can’t let games like this get us down because we are having a great season and just want to keep pushing on.”

For Noble himself, it must be a pleasure to play alongside stars like Dimitri Payet and it has led to the old subject of a potential England call up. On the TV, Jamie Redknapp suggested he was the best uncapped player in the Premier League, but Noble has heard it all before.

“It is nice to hear things like that, especially from someone like Jamie,” he said with a shrug. “I am playing the best football of my career at the moment, people can see that and I felt really good out there.

“The last few months and really for the whole of the season I have felt good, but you can only play as well as you can for the club and if something happens, it happens.”

In the meantime, Noble is determined to get West Ham as far up the table as he can in this crazy Premier League.

“This league is the maddest I’ve ever know it since I started playing,” he said and that is quite a few years now. “Everyone beats everyone and if you can string a few results together every place is still up for grabs at the minute.”

So what about that 350th appearance? Was it a proud moment? Noble nods.

“Yes of course,” he said. “350 appearances for the club you support and where you were brought up just around the corner is great.

“For my family it is a proud moment, but I am only young and I hopefully have a few left in me yet.”

No-one would doubt that.

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