Mark Noble played his part as England won 2-1 against Slovenia in an Under-21 friendly played at the KC Stadium in Hull on Tuesday night.
The West Ham United midfielder played the whole game and had the honour of the captain's armband for the second half after James Milner made way at the interval. Noble was instrumental throughout with some good forward play and a couple of timely blocks at the other end in the final warm-up before next month's decisive 2009 European U21 Championship qualifier against Portugal at Wembley. The home goals came from Micah Richards and Milner in the 25th and 35th minutes.
Noble, who has eleven caps and three goals at this level, should be involved when Portugal arrive on Friday 5 September. The Young Lions are six points ahead of their visitors at the top of Group 3 although Portugal have two games left to play compared to England's one. A point would therefore make sure of top spot and one of the ten places guaranteed to qualifying group winners in October's play-offs for the finals in Sweden next summer. The four best runners-up will also be involved.