West Ham captain Mark Noble is getting near the end of his career. At 33 years of age, it is fair to say that he doesn’t have much time left at the top.
With Tomas Soucek and Declan Rice both able to play in deeper roles, there has been some debate on Twitter among fans whether the Hammers legend should perhaps be benched for the final nine fixtures of the season:
— Ⓟⓗⓘⓛⓘⓟ 父 Ⓦⓘⓛⓚⓘⓝⓢⓞⓝ 父 (@PW57WHU) May 31, 2020
For the rest of this season in a relegation battle, he needs to start and lead like he does. Next season I think should finally be the year where he becomes more of a rotation player with Rice Soucek Fornals as our midfield moving forward.
— Luke Metcalf (@Lukemet02) May 31, 2020
Think he has to for the remaining games purely because of his leadership but I think once/if he he get safe we have to start planning moving forward without him constantly starting
— will earle (@willearle_) May 31, 2020
If Rice and Soucek are both fit then no.
— JG (@hammer2090) May 31, 2020
It’s difficult as he isn’t technically as good as other players, but his leadership qualities will be vital in a relegation battle.
— d__a_n (@orcadan) May 31, 2020
No, love him to bits but too often midfield gets over run when he plays. Centre mid is a tough position to play with our formation, has to be soucek and rice , with noble as capable reserve.
— Shane McHale (@shanemchale) May 31, 2020
Tough one to call – probably yes, but maybe first to come off if we need a change
— matthew woodall (@woodall_matthew) June 1, 2020
Ofc we need fight passion and leadership rn
— cotdabossv2(on loan at bvb)💛🖤💛🖤🤝 (@UnitedConnor) May 31, 2020
Of course. His influence is vital to staying up.
— Charlie Walsh (@ReturnOfTheWHAM) May 31, 2020
I think he has to in at least the first game back. Bring the lads together
— Elliot (@ElliotWHU) May 31, 2020
Considering West Ham are in a relegation battle, it would be a massive surprise if manager David Moyes opted to keep Noble out of the starting eleven.
While the midfielder may not necessarily offer the dynamism that the likes of Soucek and Rice may provide, his experience and leadership skills will be crucial in the battle for points.
There may be an opportunity next season to gradually reduce his minutes but for this closing run of games, his presence will be needed on the pitch.