This article is part of Football FanCast’s Pundit View series, which provides opinion and analysis on recent quotes from journalists, pundits, players and managers…
Speaking to Football Insider, Noel Whelan has indicated that Mark Noble will look to get West Ham United going again during the international break.
The Hammers have gone on a run of seven games without a win in all competitions, which has been made to look even worse by the fact they conceded three against both Newcastle United and Burnley.
This means there will be various parts of the team’s game that they will be looking to improve during the international break in order to turn things around.
It is unknown what method Manuel Pellegrini will use to do this, but Whelan feels that Noble will play a large part in getting the team together.
Speaking to Football Insider, Whelan said: “West Ham need the players to turn things around, I watched them against Burnley and they were woeful. They could have lost 5-0 and that will be a big worry for Manuel Pellegrini.
“There are some fantastic players in that team, and it’s unfair to heap all the blame on the manager.
“Mark Noble is the captain and the senior player, and basically the manager on the pitch. I’m expecting him to get the dressing room together and remind the players of their responsibilities.
“They will all respect him and what he’s achieved. The international break is perfect timing to take stock and have meetings to put things right.
“Yes, some players will be away on international duty, but plenty won’t be. I’m sure there will be things going on in the dressing room to assess what’s happened and how to improve it.”
Whelan is most likely correct, as it is probable that many of West Ham’s players will be looking to the captain for direction and inspiration.
It is an important part of the club that there is a figure like Noble, who can be relied upon so often to get his teammates going.
However, there is a danger that his leadership is being relied upon too much now, as there should be various leaders in the dressing room and players should be able to get themselves motivated, rather than needing someone else to do it for them.
This was indicated in Declan Rice’s comments on the Hammer’s official website, before the Sheffield United match, in which he said: “Nobes will get us fired up, the manager will get us fired up and we’re going to go out there wanting to put on a performance to make everything right.”
More players in the squad need to be stepping up to lead the team forward, rather than letting Noble burden much of the responsibility.