Whenever a new manager takes over at West Ham, the same question always seems to arise among the many on fans’ lips: will he play Mark Noble? Despite the lack of faith some seem to have in him now, he has endured every test he’s come across in his beloved claret and blue shirt. The same has been the case under Pellegrini. He may not start every game, but has featured in 11 of West Ham’s 16 Premier League matches this season.
He is still an integral part of the team and his new contract extension highlights that. The year extension means it will now run until 2021, so he will have been involved with the West Ham first team for an incredible 17 years when it expires. It also makes it likely that he will retire at the club he loves, seeing him become a one club man.
This is nothing short of what he deserves for his continued service to the club and proves to any doubters that he is still firmly in West Ham’s plans. Declan Rice has shown he can be a future club captain –should his contract situation be sorted- and Marko Arnautovic is a formidable presence on the pitch. However, Mark Noble is still the best leader the club has, as is signified by his captaincy.
Aside from the obvious leadership qualities, both in the dressing room and on the pitch, Noble is an important cog in the Hammers’ midfield on merit outside of that. He is as committed as ever and like Rice, is brilliant at breaking down opposition play. Some claim that he has lost his legs and is no longer able to get round the pitch as is needed, but in truth, he’s never been the quickest and has catered his game to dealing with this, with his positional play ensuring he remains a central part of the play.
The Hammers’ number 16 is just four appearances away from 450 in a West Ham shirt, after making his debut in a 2-0 League Cup win at home against Southend United in 2004. He featured in the Great Escape of 2006-07, won the Championship Play Offs twice, captained the team in their final game at Upton Park and has been one of the few constants in the club since the move to the London Stadium. He has over 50 West Ham goals, with a large amount of them coming from the penalty spot. He’s also represented England from Under 16 to Under 21 level.
He hasn’t scored this season, but has two assists- which came in wins against Everton and Manchester United. He has continuously said that he feels the club is heading in the right direction under the management of Pellegrini and this contract extension means he’ll be part of that for an extra year.
For now though, he’ll be looking to Saturday’s match against bottom of the table Fulham. The club are on an impressive run of three wins in a row –something they hadn’t previously managed for over two years. Another win this time around will likely see them break into the top 10.
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