‘Mr West Ham’ himself could struggle for game time this season as manager David Moyes may not have space for the veteran in the squad.
Mark Noble has been a mainstay in the West Ham side for the best part of fourteen years. The Englishman has made over 500 first-team appearances for the Hammers and has cemented himself as a one-club-man.
The club captain of West Ham will no doubt go down as a legend at the club and to its fans. But at the moment, Noble could find game time hard to come by. Simply put there is currently no space for Noble in the matchday squad.
The starting midfield positions are pretty set with Declan Rice and Tomas Soucek. The duo has formed one of the best partnerships outside of the traditional top six teams in the Premier League. Noble can not compete with the younger men, whose superior athleticism makes the teams performance a lot better.
Therefore Noble’s best bet for a place in the matchday squad would be a place on the bench. Competition for these spots is just as competitive as there are only seven spots available. One of the spots is automatically given to Darren Randolph as back-up to Lukasz Fabianski.
Two more of the spots are given to defenders, usually one wide and one central defender. Those two are likely to Ryan Fredericks and one of Issa Diop, Fabian Balbuena or Craig Dawson. Once those positions are filled, there are only four spots left for Noble to fight for.
Out of those four spots at least two will go to attacking players, the current options are Sebastien Haller who is now back-up to Michial Antonio, new signing Said Benrahma and Manuel Lanzini and Andriy Yarmolenko after their heroics against Tottenham.
Arguably, Moyes will give three of these spots to attackers who can change a game should the Hammers require a goal. Noble does not fit that mould and can only offer to help solidify the team’s defence if they are defending a lead.
There is currently one space on the bench for Noble, but. that could come under threat if Benrahma is given the starting birth. The Algerian would likely replace Fornals. The Spaniard is naturally a central midfielder and would be direct competition for the 33-year-old.
Fornals has shown that he can contribute defensively as well as playing a key role in the West Ham attack. This ability would probably give him the edge over Noble in the battle for the remaining spot on the bench.
Noble only has one year left on his current contract. There are also rumours circulating that he could be considering retirement it might start to be time to prepare for a West Ham without ‘Mr West Ham‘.