West Ham may have won the World Cup for England in 1966, but as of 2014 it seems it would take some sort of miracle for another Hammer to be called up to play for England. Now, as another England friendly selection has been made sans West Ham midfielder Mark Noble, I can’t help but wonder— what is it he’s done to keep himself out of the national team?
After all, Nobes was no stranger to playing for England as a youngster. He played for England at U16, U17, U18, U19, and U21 levels, and captained them at U21. We are not talking a player who picked up two or three caps at youth level here; were talking a player who captained the U-21 teams and led them to the finals of the 2009 European Championships—and then somehow aged out of playing for England.
It is usual for the captain of the under-21s to never play for their country again after that point?
Sure, the man has his critics—and amongst them lie some West Ham fans (although he has been Hammer of The Year Twice, and Player’s Player of The Year last year.) The man divides fan opinions like Marmite; many praise his determined attitude and dogged loyalty (go Canning Town!) whilst his detractors worry that he doesn’t bring enough creativity to the squad and is only picked because of his local appeal (boo Canning Town.)
But whatever side of the Noble fence you fall on while he’s playing for West Ham, surely the man’s earned at least a chance to represent England at the senior level? I’m not suggesting the man deserves a starting place at the Euros straight away; I just think someone who did so much at youth level and plays so consistently in the Premier League every week deserves at least a chance at coming on as one of twenty subs in a meaningless friendly.
The man has worked hard for West Ham at Senior and Youth level, and England at youth level for years. He is consistent, and reliable. Statistically, he is a stronger choice for England than Aston Villa’s Fabian Delph and Newcastle United’s Jack Colback (his stats on Squawka.com suggests he makes more forward passes, drastically more successful passes, and creates twice as many chances as the players picked over him)— and don’t you dare bring up that missed penalty versus Spurs; if anything, ballsing up a penalty should make him an ideal player for England.
I don’t think there will be many more opportunities for Noble to break into the England team (Delph and Colback are both younger and less experienced than him, which bodes the “if not now, when” question) and I can’t help but think what a shame that is for the West Ham midfielder – and also what a true shame it is for England – that we may never see him make his senior debut for us.
If Noble does decide to play his ancestry card, and register to play for Ireland, I’ll be thrilled for him, but not half as pleased or proud as I’d be to see him in an England shirt.
Would you like to see Noble play at senior level for England? Why or why not? Would you be disappointed to see him play for Ireland instead? Let us know below, or tweet the Noble-loving writer @makingthemarrow