May 21 2013 Latest news:
Dave Evans, West Ham Correspondent
Tuesday, October 23, 2012
Hammers midfielder Mark Noble relishes the responsibility of set-pieces and penalties for West Ham
»It must take nerves of steel to stand up in front of nearly 35,000 people, keep your nerve and slot home a vital penalty, but for West Ham midfielder Mark Noble it is just all part of the job.
The 25-year-old Hammer of the Year hasn’t missed a spot kick since April 2009 when Peter Cech dived full length to keep his shot out, but there was little chance of Artur Boruc getting close to Noble’s spot-kick on Saturday.
“A lot of people have asked me about pressure, but at the time I didn’t really weigh up or think how important it was,” said Noble after hjis 13th consecutive penalty success in the 4-1 win.
“I just concentrated on putting it in the back of the net and thankfully that happened.”
It was the pivotal moment. Southampton had hauled themselves back into the game at 2-1 and Rickie Lambert had gone close from a free kick when the responsibility fell on Noble’s shoulders.
“I think we controlled the game in the second half, but they had a five or 10 minute spell when they were on top after they scored, but the penalty knocked the wind out of them really and we went on from there.
“I was happy for ‘Van’ (Modibo Maiga) to come on and score a lovely goal.”
Saturday’s game was not as easy as the final score suggests as Noble is only too aware of.
“It was a good win, especially after the first half where we didn’t play that well as a team,” he said. “We are not always going to play well, we know that, but we know we have got quality and we know we can score goals, so we came out and controlled the second half.”
Some would say that Noble’s opening goal was something of a fluke as it evaded everyone to creep into the corner from some 35 yards out, but it is the accuracy of his set-pieces that make them so dangerous.
“We do work on them,” admitted Noble. “Wally (Downes), Macca (Neil McDonald) and the gaffer always stress just how important the free kicks are and how many goals are scored from set-plays every weekend in the Premier League.
“There are a few routines that we have, but I try to come up with ones off the cuff really during the game and luckily enough today we scored two goals off set-plays.”
Noble has formed an excellent partnership with Kevin Nolan and Mo Diame in the middle of the park and the success of that has certainly contributed to West Ham’s good start.
“I think we just all know each other’s strengths,” he said. “Nobby you know is always going to be in the box, as he was today, he always seems to be there.
“I think he always knows that I am going to be sitting so he can run in the box, while Mo just charges around and does what he wants!
“It is a good blend at the minute. It is well balanced and I’m pretty sure we all enjoy playing with each other.”
One this is for sure, the West Ham fans enjoy watching them.