Write off West Ham skipper at your peril after another superb cameo performance
PUBLISHED: 13:40 03 January 2019
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Super sub Noble shows how it is done as he inspires comeback
Every time that West Ham fans attempt to write off the career of skipper Mark Noble, he comes back and shows that he is still a force to be reckoned with.
A dismal display at Burnley on Sunday saw him relegated to the bench for this clash, but after coming on after an hour, he made an almost instant impression on the game.
First, the Hammers captain, making his 451st appearance in claret and blue, put a ball over the top to the sprinting Marko Arnautovic and the Austrian showed his strength to pull a goal back.
Then just three minutes later, he passed out to the right wing for Michail Antonio who used his speed and trickery to get into the box and pull it back for Arnautovic to poke home the equaliser.
Noble can certainly read the game as he showed in this display. When his playing days are finally over, you can see him having an important role at the club as a coach and possibly future manager.
“It’s a different game from the side,” said the super sub. “You sit and watch and I looked on and thought we just weren’t playing to his strengths, like playing balls over the top.
“The way to hurt Brighton was over the top with Marko’s pace and strength and as soon as I came on I thought that as soon as I got the chance, I was going to do that.
“Luckily enough he got his goal and then the same with Michail. I played the ball to him out wide, he got to the by-line and cut one back.”
Noble may have some indifferent games, but it is clear that he can still do the business and his leadership skills are second to none as manager Manuel Pellegrini pointed out.
“I don’t think 31 is old,” insisted the boss. “He has a couple of years more. He renewed his contract and was one of the players I wanted to rest.
“He continues to be captain and his personality is important for this club on the pitch and off it because Mark is always giving the best of himself.”
It has been a long and arduous festive period for the Hammers, so to end it with a point against something of a bogey side in Brighton was a decent result.
“Over Christmas we’ve had two away games, been in hotels a lot and been at Burnley and Southampton,” said Noble. “I don’t know if that plays a part, but we’ve changed the team with three or four players.
“From where we was, 2-0 down, to get two goals and a point is a positive.”
It certainly is and once again Noble played a vital role.
December has been a tough month for all the players and it has shown in the up and down displays. Now for January!