Whilst the ever impressive exploits of Claudio Ranieri’s determined Leicester City outfit have quite rightly stolen most of the back-page headlines throughout the 2015/16 Premier League campaign thus far, West Ham United are another side that arguably deserve a great deal of credit this season.
Some major voices in football predicted dark times for the Hammers and their newly appointed boss in the shape of Slaven Bilic – citing the Croatian’s prior lack of Premier League experience as a potential cause for concern in 2015/16. But as West Ham still find themselves well placed in the top half of the table with possible European qualification on the cards, the Upton Park faithful clearly have reason to be satisfied right in the here and now.
And one man who has provided Slaven Bilic with an influential voice out on the pitch this term remains the calm and collected figure of Mark Noble in the middle of the park. The 28-year-old centre-midfielder has recorded yet another impressive season in the claret & blue in 2015/16, as well as taking on a well-deserved captain’s role within the club’s last ever season at the Boleyn Ground.
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So with thoughts of Euro 2016 understandably high on the agenda at this particular stage in the proceedings – should Mark Noble be handed a place in the Three Lions squad this summer, or will Roy Hodgson ultimately look past the hard-working West Ham man once again?
As the former Hull City and Ipswich Town loanee has certainly played a major role in the Hammers’ successful 2015/16 campaign thus far, perhaps it’s finally time to give Mark Noble that all important sense of recognition on the international scene after all.
The long-term Upton Park favourite may admittedly fail to represent the most captivating personality to stand out on the West Ham team-sheet of course – that particular claim is seemingly already taken up by the excessively entertaining figure of Dimitri Payet no less – but as Noble offers the Hammers all the necessary grit, determination and guile to make any team successful in the Premier League, the impressive 28-year-old really does represent a priceless asset for Bilic in 2015/16.
He therefore deserves a certain amount of careful consideration from Roy Hodgson this summer, even if his Euro 2016 dreams ultimately fail to materialise in the end. England’s upcoming international friendlies offer the former Fulham, Liverpool and West Brom boss a chance to really get to grips with his current players before judgement day is finally upon thrust upon them, especially as the 2015/16 campaign has produced several shock names worthy of staking their claim for the Three Lions in the not too distant future.
Both Danny Drinkwater and Jamie Vardy have seemingly made a great case for their Euro 2016 hopes down at the King Power Stadium this season, Crystal Palace’s Scott Dann must surely be in for a strong shout despite his side’s distinct lack of domestic form in recent weeks, whilst each of Aaron Cresswell and Michail Antonio arguably deserve due consideration alongside Mark Noble among the West Ham ranks in 2015/16.
Yet seeing as England’s Roy Hodgson has been more than happy to ignore the current Hammers captain in several seasons past, it remains difficult to envisage Mark Noble eventually being included in the Three Lions squad for Euro 2016 this summer – regardless of whether or not the 28-year-old midfielder is ultimately worthy of a place.
Danny Drinkwater’s recent emergence with Leicester City arguably dents Noble’s England chances even further, and whilst the likes of Fabian Delph, Jordan Henderson, Michael Carrick and Jack Wilshere have hardly served to set the English top-flight alight this term, each of the aforementioned midfielders will likely stand a better chance of making the squad due to their prior links with the – often questionable – England selection process, if we’re all being completely honest.
With all things taken into account, Mark Noble would have likely received an illustrious call-up to the Three Lions squad long ago had he been representing a club with a ‘bigger’ and more defined reputation than West Ham United this whole time. It shouldn’t be the case of course, but that’s how England seem to operate in the modern era – and there really is no getting away from that.
So then, even though Noble has arguably represented one of the most consistent English performers in the Premier League for several consecutive seasons now, the 28-year-old’s possible inclusion at Euro 2016 therefore remains something of a long-shot at best.