The veteran Hammer is still a key figure for Manuel Pellegrini’s men, but Inkersole has suggested that his powers may just be on the wane.
Writing in a piece for Football.London, he said: “Mark Noble’s leadership is still vital but he is having less impact on the pitch and the Hammers could do with a bit more energy in the engine room and to start setting a bit of tempo to what has looked a very pedestrian pace in recent games.”
Nobody wants to think about it, but Noble won’t be around forever. The captain is still key in the sense that he provides much-needed experience alongside Declan Rice in the centre of the park, but beyond that, he hasn’t been at his best so far this term. He has averaged just one tackle and 0.3 interceptions per game in the engine room, as well as playing just 0.5 key passes, as per Whoscored. Sometimes stats can flatter to deceive, especially in the case of central midfielders, but in Noble’s case, they justifiably illustrate a player who we all know is capable of more. With that in mind, it’s time that West Ham start looking to the future. Not necessarily to get rid of Noble, but certainly to help him with his workload as he slowly begins to wind down a career that he can look back on with immense pride.