Mark Noble notched his 500th appearance for West Ham against Watford, and he will have been delighted with the emphatic start the Hammers made, along with the result. When the pressure was on, this side delivered, and David Moyes is starting to mould the squad in his own image. One of the critical alterations the Scot has made in recent weeks has been deploying the 33-year-old as an attacking midfielder, and Noble has thrived as a result.
Conversely, though there have been reports suggesting that the Irons legend’s contract talks have been shelved and that there are no plans to offer the captain a new deal beyond his existing contract, which expires at the end of next season. Celebrating your swansong along with the Hammers’ 125th anniversary would be a nice touch for Noble to bow out on, but his recent performances suggest that he still has more to offer this side.
Despite being 33-years-old Noble has made 30 Premier League starts this season, suggesting he has had few problems maintaining the fitness levels of some players who are more than a decade his junior. Furthermore, in a new attacking midfield berth, the Englishman has been relieved of some of his defensive responsibilities. Now that he is not charging around continually attempting to keep pace with play, Noble appears more composed than ever on the ball.
In his last two matches, Noble has played ten key passes and registered two assists, double the amount he’d previously registered in 29 top-flight appearances this term. The veteran midfielder has now created more goals this season than Manuel Lanzini, Andriy Yarmolenko and Sebastien Haller, highlighting his tremendous upturn in creativity.
Additionally, a former teammate of Noble, Jack Collison, recently described how he sets the standards every day in training at Rush Green, therefore losing his influence not just on the pitch, but between matches, could be a catastrophic blow to Moyes’ sides mentality. Based on Collison’s comments, Noble holds the squad to account and isn’t afraid to front up when results or performances have slipped.
Given his resurgent form, it would appear wise to offer Noble the opportunity of a one-year extension to his current deal. The Hammers captain has shown more than enough in his 30 starts this term to suggest he can continue at Premier League level, especially in recent weeks. It would be understandable for Moyes to gradually use Noble more sparingly, but omitting him from his beloved West Ham after next term could prove to be a grave error.