Mark Noble – A rare breed in modern football

Mark Noble, West Ham’s captain has been at the heart of their midfield for years now and the distinct quality within the 30-year-old is the loyalty he has for the club. This is the tale of Mark Noble and how he differs to the normal footballer.

Noble is the longest serving player in West Ham’s current squad, having been in the first team since 2004. Prior to that, he featured for the Hammers at every level from U16 to the U21 side. He is the Irons first-choice penalty taker and has one of the best penalty-taking records around. During his 14 seasons with the first team, Noble has also picked up the Hammer of the year award twice.

Born in Canning Town, Mark Noble is a West Ham fan himself.

When he first came on to the scene for the West Ham youth side, Noble became West Ham’s youngest player ever to appear in their reserve team, aged 15. In 2005, manager at the time Alan Pardew said: “we think very highly of Mark. If he keeps on working hard and continues to develop as he has, there is no reason why he can’t become a top player for this club.”

Mark Noble featured for the first-team during the 2006/07 season, the year many West Ham fans will remember as the “great escape” when a Carlos Tevez winner to beat Manchester United on the final day of the season kept the Hammers in the Premier League. His first league goal came that season with a beautiful half-volley against rivals Tottenham where they eventually lost 4-3 in the last minute of the game.

Mark Noble bags the opening goal of the game.

Mark Noble and his renown emotions were evident when he first started at West Ham as his passion for the team and to play for the badge is what fans dream of their players having. When the Hammers left the Boleyn Ground, Mark Noble as captain gave a speech crying after their win versus Man United, once again reiterating his love for West Ham. That same season was probably his best in a West Ham shirt because as well as full-hearted performances, Noble had 7 goals and 4 assists to his name. From this fans were calling for the midfielder to be in the England squad for the Euro’s but unfortunately this was one step too far.

The 2015/16 season was also the time when Noble earned a testimonial match in his honour, proving what a special player he has been for the club.

Mark Noble really separates himself as a rare type of footballer these days though. If you asked a youngster just getting into football, they would describe a modern-day footballer to be money and social media orientated. Noble though generally loves West Ham and the game of football. With the years he has been involved with West Ham, there has certainly been some up’s and down’s, in particular last season when some fans were calling for him to be dropped from the team. The 30-year-old shared that this period was the “hardest in his career” as fans who used to cheer his name where now turning on the no.16 after poor performances.

Now that Noble has reached 30, he may start seeing a reduction in appearances but looking at his strengths and weaknesses may see West Ham fans reposition their views on the captain.

Strengths

  • Penalties
Mark Noble converts a penalty against Hull in a 1-0 win.

30 out of the 34 penalties Noble has taken for West Ham have resulted in a goal, with a stunning fact that the Englishman sends the keeper the wrong way 87% of the time. His ability to dispatch the ball from 12 yards is easily amongst the best in the Premier League as he manages to stay cool and composed at the vital moment.

  • Leadership

The commanding voice in West Ham’s midfield is infectious with Noble always demanding 100% effort from his team mates. He is honest and will be the first to admit to any bad performances from the team or himself in the game.

  • Range of passing

Noble is very creative on the ball and has the eye to pick out the killer pass. This season so far, he has a 83% pass completion rate.

Weaknesses 

  • Pace

Throughout his career, Noble has never been blessed with pace and as the game becomes faster, it is more than likely that Noble will find himself overrun in the midfield.

  • Sometimes overzealous

Determined to do his all for the club, Noble sometimes commits himself too much to a tackle, leaving him and his team exposed.

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