Hammer fan Noble is learning from the best in the business
West Ham midfielder Mark Noble is delighted to be learning his trade from Thomas Hitzlsperger and Scott Parker.
West Ham midfielder Mark Noble must have one of the best jobs in the Premier League.
Not only is the 23-year-old Hammer playing for the club he supported as a boy, he is also playing alongside two of the best midfielders in the Premier League.
While Scott Parker has been awarded the prestigious Barclays Premier League player of the month for February and Thomas Hitzlsperger has wowed everyone with two goals and three assists in his three appearances in claret and blue, Noble has been slowly going about his business.
And the 23-year-old knows exactly how precious it is to be playing alongside two of the best.
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“I’m learning things off them every day,” admitted Noble after Saturday’s thumping 3-0 win over Stoke City at Upton Park. “I still want to learn and improve and playing in the midfield at the moment is an absolute pleasure.”
Noble has certainly played his part too. While Parker and Hitzlsperger have hit the headlines, the youngster has been piling up the assists this season, setting up two for Carlton Cole in the FA Cup thrashing of Burnley and then putting Demba Ba in for the opener on Saturday.
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“The idea is to keep it as tight as we can in midfield,” explained the Canning Town-born midfield man. “We try to play the ball when we can, pass it among ourselves and I think it is probably nice to watch at times.”
It is, but it is also effective.
“I’ve got an assist today, Thomas has scored a goal and got an assist and I think ‘Scotty’s’ run for the third goal was superb,” said Noble, who has now reached double figures in the assists column.
“Obviously I am still young,” he said with a smile. “They are both in their thirties now I think, so they are getting old! But it’s nice to play with them and I’m enjoying every minute of it.”
The former England under-21 international is West Ham’s longest serving player even at 23, having played 165 games, but he knows that he is playing at the top of his game at the moment.
“This season is definitely my best,” he said. “Creating goals and my general play is where it should be and where I want to keep it.
“When you are playing with good players it makes things easier. I’ve always said that 4-4-2 is my best formation, but I am still playing as well as I ever have in a 4-3-3.
“It isn’t about me at the end of the day though. As long as the team is winning and I’m playing well, I’m happy.”
And the midfielder has put his finger on what the difference is between West Ham now and the Hammers before Christmas.
“I think the likes of Wayne Bridge and Demba Ba coming in has been vital as well as Hitzlsperger coming back – they are all good players,” he said.
“I think the recruitment in January was brilliant and with the likes of Robbie Keane to come back, things are definitely looking up.”
You could see that on Saturday as Stoke were simply swept aside, adding their scalp to that of Liverpool at Upton Park last week.
“Three nil against Stoke who are a tough team and a big team is excellent,” he said. “I thought, the defence was fantastic.
“We brought in some big guys to stop them at set-pieces, but obviously it helped with the boys up top coming back as well. Demba, ‘Coley’ and Freddie came back all the way and we defended as a team and that is what you need to do.
“I think you can see that the team is playing as a group, we are all working hard for each other and we are slowly, slowly, pushing up the table.”
Some may say that goals are the reason that West Ham are beginning to haul themselves out of trouble, but for many it is the strength of that midfield.
Noble himself, just hopes they can keep things going.
“I think we have scored something like 14 in four games,” he said. “Let’s hope we can keep it up because we’ve got a tough game with Stoke in the quarter-final and then we’ve got Spurs away which isn’t going to be easy either, but we are looking forward to it.”
With the way the West Ham midfield are playing at the moment, every Hammers’ fan is looking forward to it too.