Interview: Mark Noble on never playing playing for England, Moyes and his final days at West Ham

Mark Noble tells LondonWorld why he won’t stay on even if West Ham make it to the Champions League.

It will also be the beginning of the end for the club’s one true son, captain Mark Noble.

Beckton boy Noble - who grew up less than a mile from Upton Park - is expected to get some minutes as he takes the final steps towards an emotional exit from the only football club he’s ever known.

The Hammers captain has been at the club since 2000, and played more than 500 games for the Irons.

Mark Noble reacts during the English Premier League football match between West Ham United and Arsenal (Photo by BEN STANSALL/AFP via Getty Images)

He’s been there from relegation to promotion and has enjoyed a career any East Ender would have been proud of.

But there remains one major thing missing from a glittering CV, which is never having pulled on the Three Lions for England.

Noble came closest to being called up in 2017, under former West Ham boss Sam Allardyce.

Michail Antonio, now the Hammers lead striker, got his first cap under Big Sam and next in line was supposed to be Noble.

But disaster struck, after Allardyce was caught by Daily Telegraph journalists discussing how to “get around” transfer rules, while drinking a pint of wine.

Sam Allardyce as England manager. Credit: ANTHONY DEVLIN/AFP via Getty Images

He resigned shortly afterwards, after managing just one game in charge of the Three Lions.

Since then Noble has been entirely overlooked, and will walk away from the game never representing his country.

Asked if that keeps him awake at night, he told LondonWorld that he’s happy to have had the career he’s had.

“No, a lot more stuff kept me awake at night than never playing for England,” Noble said.

“I said on Rio Ferdinand’s podcast lately that that I’m I gutted that I never had an England cap.

Mark Noble playing for West Ham in 2005. Credit: Phil Cole/Getty Images

“Of course, that is the dream of almost every English footballer, but they way I look at is that I have had a fantastic career playing for a club that I supported as a kid, and even captained.

“I appreciate every West Ham fan would like to do that and I have been lucky enough to do that.

“There are players that have had England caps that have not had the career that I have had, and maybe they probably deserved, it but what I will say is that I don’t regret it one bit.

“I have lived my dream of playing and captaining this football club so it hasn’t kept me awake at night.”

Noble’s exit will bring an end to a chapter that many did not envisage when he first joined as an 11-year-old, who just wanted to be part of the club his parents and everyone he knew supported.

Mark Noble and Chris Powell of West Ham celebrate promotion after the play-off final in 2005. Credit: Mike Hewitt/Getty Images

It’s been a roller coaster from the Boleyn, and all the challenges that came with moving to the London Stadium.

The relegation to the Championship, the return to the Premier and now that things are looking up, there are talks of maintaining the club as a true top six side in the Premier League.

There have been calls from within the club for Noble to stay on, if the Hammers manage to overturn the 2-1 deficit in Frankfurt and go on to lift the trophy and qualify for the Champions League.

It would be a magical moment for a man who has played in the Championship with the club all the way to the Europa League.

Mark Noble salutes the crowd after West Ham’s final game at Upton Park in 2016. Credit: Julian Finney/Getty Images

However Noble emphatically ruled out staying on, even if West Ham make it to the Champions League for the first time in the club’s illustrious history.

“The reason we would get to the Champions League is obviously winning the Europa League and lifting the trophy, would I come back, the answer to that is no,” he told LondonWorld.

“To go on and win the Europa League will be very special.

“I was joking with the lads the other day when I said that if we made it into the Champions League I would gladly come watch them with the Europa League sitting in the next chair.

“I have given my life from the age of 11 to this club through the best of times and not so best of times.

“There have been some tough times, but the one mainstay for the last 18 or 19 years has been that I have always been myself and so I’m proud of that.

“I’m proud that I have played under nine or 10 different managers and accumulated the number of games I have.

“But winning the Europa League would be life changing, and also for the club and fan base that really stuck with us.

“We get 60,000 every other week and we sell out our away games every week, it would be a really good pay back for them.”

Mark Noble and David Moyes, Manager of West Ham United look on during the Premier League match (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)

The Moyes effect

Since David Moyes returned to east London, it coincided with the rise of Declan Rice, who has gone on to establish himself as one of the best players for both club and country.

What that has meant is that Noble has had his game time limited, but it has not affected the respect and administration he’s got for his manager.

He reveals both want the same thing and that is to see West Ham enjoy playing in Europe and challenging the more established sides in the league.

Noble said: “He is honest, if you are not doing it he will tell you.

“It doesn’t matter who it is, he will be straight with you and tell you that you’re not doing it, so he is very honest and I think in the long run that is what footballers need.

“Whether you get on with the manager or not, if he is honest with you are alright with that.

West Ham’s new hero Declan Rice. Credit: Ryan Pierse/Getty Images

“Since he is back to the team, I have not played a lot but purely because I’m getting older and the fact that there is a young midfielder player [Rice] who has come through the academy, and is probably the best in the world at the moment in that position.

“My relationship with the boss has not changed.

“We talk about football and talk about the club, and it’s partly my job to stop things getting to his office because he’s got a football club to run and a lot of players to manage, so partly it’s my job to tidy up the rubbish before it gets to his office.”

The inside story behind sweeping the away dressing room

One of the best pictures of the year was Noble in a towel sweeping the away dressing room, after West Ham won at Lyon.

The photograph - which shows the kind of leadership he brings - went viral on social media.

It’s a picture that is worth a thousand words, and the midfielder is proud that everyone got to see and shared the true story of why he has always stayed behind to clean the dressing room after every away game.

“One of my friends was the chief executive of Sheffield United, so years ago we went there to play,” Noble told LondonWorld.

“After the game I was meeting him, and while talking to him I released I left my wedding ring in the dressing room, so I’ve got to go back to the dressing room.

“But when I got back our dressing room was disgraceful and it really hurt me.

“So I said that would not happen again as long as I was here.

“When we were kids we used to do it, so I want everyone from the academy to do it and yeah that was it, I didn’t like because it doesn’t reflect the standard that I want us to be.”

When the final whistle goes off in Frankfurt, both Noble and all Hammers around the world will hope that they will have done enough to make the final and keep the dream alive.

But football is a very strange game and has the ability to spoil fairy tale endings

Not many know what Noble will do when the season is over and he walks away, but true fans will hope that he sticks around and helps younger players with all he has seen throughout his two decades at the club.

Noble said: “I will always be affiliated with West Ham. I

“I know this club up to the bottom and all captains at the various levels - my son is in the academy.

“I know the names of all the players and captains from the academy to the very top, so everyone who knows me knows that I will always be affiliated to West Ham.”