Mark Noble was born on 8th May 1987 in Canning Town and played for Barking Colts before moving to Arsenal’s academy at 11 years of age. Known as Mr West Ham, Mark has played almost all of his youth and senior playing career at West Ham United, apart from two short loan spells at Hull City and Ipswich Town in 2006.
Noble made his senior team debut aged just 17 in the League Cup against Southend United in August 2004, helping the Hammers to a 2-0 victory. But Noble had to wait until January 2005 before making his first appearance in the league in a 4-2 defeat away to Wolverhampton Wanderers in the Championship.
Mark has played for England at U16, U17, U18, U19 and U21 levels but has not been capped for the full international side in his career so far. Noble rejected a call up to the Republic of Ireland squad, qualifying due to his grandparents being both Cork born. Mark said “There are young Irish kids playing well that deserve and would appreciate an Irish cap more than I would.” He went on to explain that he has played for England throughout the age groups and although he hasn’t secured a senior place, he just couldn’t turn up to play for Ireland without it having been a dream of his.
Noble has won Hammer of The Year Award twice and promotion to the Premier League twice putting in over 470 first team appearances for the Hammers as well as being the first West Ham player to play in 300 Premier League games. Noble scored in his 300th game from the penalty spot against Stoke City. In our final year at the Boleyn, Mark had a testimonial in March 2016 and was the last player to captain the side at the Boleyn ground in a 3-2 win against Manchester United.
There have been calls for Noble to be dropped from the team and he describes the 2016-17 season as his most difficult period playing for West Ham. HIs season finished early in 2017 when he needed to have an abdominal operation. But not before he had played 35 games in all competitions and scoring 5 goals. Noble has scored some important goals for the team, in particular a volley from the edge of the area against Leicester City on 5th May in a 2-0 to secure Premier League survival. This was the same season Mark grabbed a protester who ran onto the London Stadium pitch in the 0-3 defeat against Burnley.
Noble began this season missing the first two matches with injury, returning to score a penalty against Watford in a 3-1 win and some have said that he was playing some of the best football of his career. It was said at a time when the Hammers sat 5th in the league under Pellegrini having lost just 1 match in the first seven games. Noble is a firm favourite with many fans and previous managers have spoken about the qualities that Mark brings to the team with his professionalism, enthusiasm and dedication to the team on and off the field. A stand out moment was Noble’s pass to Anderson for the first goal against Manchester United at London Stadium on 22nd September that set Yarmolenko up to score. Noble’s awareness to pause, draw defenders with a feinted turn and pass the ball inside instead of wide. Since then the season imploded with the injury to Fabianski and defeat against Oxford United in the EFL Cup.
What does Noble bring to the team? How many more seasons can he offer West Ham at this level and what role can he play, particularly with younger players, as his career inevitably draws to a close? Noble is one of my favourite players, you can see how much he wears his pride of playing for the club and his connection with the fans and key role within the team, especially when the season as difficult as this one that has yet to be completed, cannot be denied.