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Mark Noble: the renaissance man

Filed: Monday, 15th January 2018
By: Trevor Twohig

After a terrific victory such as the weekend's visit to Huddersfield, West Ham fans should rightly feel pleased as punch this morning.

However one man who has come under intense scrutiny and criticism is the club captain, Mark Noble. On Saturday, his man of the match performance earned him some well-deserved plaudits. Could 2018 be Mark Noble's year?

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It is fair to say that under Slaven Bilic this season, West Ham were rudderless. No direction or leadership were one thing, but what was unforgivable was the Hammers' lack of fitness which cost them dear towards the end of Bilic's tenure. Bilic may have been a nice guy, but whether he is a leader and more importantly a good manager, remains to be seen.

Still dining out on the Croatia semi-final visit is sadly short-sighted. Let's face it, when Bilic joined us he had failed to qualify for the Champions League with Besiktas and they wanted rid. A marvellous season followed with Upton Park as a fortress and mostly Sam Allardyce's squad.

Despite my criticism of Slaven Bilic, no-one can take away that final season at the Boleyn, a season that will live on in the memory for all West Ham fans. How much motivation was required for such a season, who knows? What we do know, is a managerís success is short-lived. Just ask Claudio Ranieri or Roberto Di Matteo. What followed that glorious season, was poor signings and a deepening mediocrity.

Standards slipped and Mark Noble. in his post-match press stint, was quick to say that David Moyes is not afraid to tell the players what's what. His half time comments to Lanzini and Arnautovic was the catalyst for three unanswered West Ham goals and three vital points. However, it is not just his words that are making a difference. West Ham are far more robust in defence, potent in attack and primarily as fit as we have seen them in recent years.

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It is clear to see how players such as Arnautovic and Carroll are benefiting from Moyes' management. Adrian seems revitalised and James Collins is playing how we know he can. No introduction is required for Arthur Masuakuís new lease of life and Angelo Ogbonna is beginning to look like the international player West Ham fans were hoping for.

It is Noble though who stands out for me at the new and improved West Ham United under Moyes. A player who appears to know that any chance of an England call-up is all but gone and fears his days starting at his beloved club may be coming to an end. West Hamís talisman has been like a renaissance man under Moyes. Against West Brom, he and Carroll helped turn the game; Nobleís yardage incidentally was the highest of anyone on the pitch.

Traditionally a defensive midfielder, who would have thought Noble would have had the guile to sneak in and steal the ball for West Hamís first yesterday? He did and was instrumental in keeping the Terriers at bay in the second half. In a team that lacks natural leaders, Noble proves his importance in these vital six pointers, marshalling the side and leading by example.

His penalty record remains one of the best in the league and when he does not play, we fall down terribly in this area as witnessed when Ayewís feeble attempt failed to find the net in the recent Newcastle loss.

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Mark Noble will never be the greatest player in England's history. He has, with the greatest respect, some limitations. However when it comes to pride in the shirt and intelligent game management, there are few better. The amount of times I have watched Noble draw a foul when the team are under the cosh or pick up a yellow for the team to stop a potential goal threat are too many to mention.

It is difficult being a West Ham fan at times. The criticism Noble has faced from fans on social media and on the terraces is shocking to say the least. Even on Saturday, there was criticism from one fan aimed at Noble, who largely had a flawless game. Also, we are 4-1 up and the player has scored, what more does he need to do?

Mark Noble has remained loyal to our beloved club through thick and thin too. Relegations, takeovers, sackings, droppings, he has seen the lot. So why not more loyalty for a man who has given so much?

On Saturday, Noble did not pick up a card. His work rate and team management were outstanding and his finish in a nervy six-pointer for the first goal was assured. If it wasn't a World Cup year, I would say on current form, Noble deserves his long awaited England call up. He won't get it of course, but that is good news for West Ham fans because it appears Nobes is in the form of his life for club, if not for country.

Please note that the opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of, nor should be attributed to, KUMB.com.

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