“Who has been a bit off the boil over the past three games but it is still, without even a shred of debate, imperative he plays,” he wrote in his weekly power rankings on Monday afternoon.
“West Ham are worse without him in the starting line up.”
There is no doubting that West Ham are a shadow of their usual selves when Noble is not on the field. The Hammers’ captain has a huge impact on his teammates and is influential in their success in the Premier League. That was certainly highlighted when he missed the first two days of the season. Many teams have been dismantled by Manchester City on their day, but the Hammers had zero answers in their 5-0 defeat, something which didn’t get much better despite picking up a point against Brighton. West Ham were battered on the South Coast but came away with a point when stealing an equaliser. Noble came back from injury and West Ham immediately bounced back with wins against Watford, Norwich, and Manchester United – coincidence? Definitely not. Inkersole is right to single out Noble in this West Ham squad, and Pellegrini will know more than anyone how integral he is to his squad moving forward.