West Ham skipper Mark Noble has expressed his desire to finish his playing career with the Hammers, saying it has been a rare honour to captain his boyhood club.
The 29-year-old came through West Ham’s famous academy and has played close to 400 games for the club, as well as loan spells to Hull City and Ipswich Town.
He turns 30 in May and has no intention of parting with the club he has served professionally for over a decade – his current contract extending until he’s 33.
The central midfielder admits that turning out for another club would feel “funny”. He told the club’s official website:
“To me, looking at myself at the age of nearly 30, I’ve still got a contract until I’m 33 and thinking about playing for another football club would be funny – I think Steven Gerrard said that as well.
“Walking around the place, I know all the coaches at Under-7, Under-8 and Under-9 level, sometimes I go and watch the youngsters train and I feel like I’ve been there and done it myself, coming up through the ranks with the club.
“I’ve managed to captain this fantastic club, which is something very few players get to do, captaining the club they support, so it’s a major honour for me. I don’t think I’ll appreciate it fully since I stop playing.
“There aren’t many of us now, because football is forever changing, managers change and obviously relegation battles mean players move on, so I think it would be very hard for players now to keep in the team they support and stay there after coming through the academy. I can’t see it happening.
“I would like to finish my career here, that’s what I’ve always thought. I can’t see myself playing for another football team, but football is such a changing world so you can’t ever tell what’s going to happen next season.
“As I said, I’ve got three years left on my deal here and I’m not sure my body will let me go far past the age of 33, to be honest.”
Noble made his 23rd Premier League start of the season in West Ham’s action-packed 2-2 draw with West Brom on Saturday.
The Canning Town boy has scored three leagues goals this term, his last a deflected free kick away at Southampton.