Mark Noble was delighted to mark his return to the starting line-up with a win against Reading on Sunday.

The 26-year-old midfielder underwent an operation on a trapped nerve in the spring, but came back to make three appearances from the bench before stepping back up to the first XI at the weekend.

The Hammers overcame relegated Reading 4-2 to end the Barclays Premier League season on a high and secure tenth place in the table.


Noble told West Ham TV: "It was nice to be back playing. My arm felt fantastic and I really enjoyed [the win] on Sunday.

"We started really slowly in the second half, but some of the football we played in the first half and towards the end of the second was fantastic.

"It was lovely to finish the season off with a game like that - loads of goals, entertaining for the crowd and it will mean we go away with loads of confidence."

Noble was involved from the off, clipping a first minute ball over to Andy Carroll, which was only just out of the big Geordie's reach, then supplying the pass for Kevin Nolan's second goal near the end.

He added: "I think Andy thought I was going to shoot, I lined up to do that but I saw him pull off to the far stick, and if he had a size 14 foot instead of a size 12, he would have scored!

"For Nobby's second goal it was a nice bit of play, then once I've put him through he doesn't miss those opportunities. It was nice to go 3-2 up after the poor start we made to the second half, and then finish it comfortably."

Nolan's hat-trick took him to ten goals for the season and Noble would like to see more Hammers players reach that mark next term.

He explained: "We've not had too many high-scoring players this season, Nobby ended with ten, Andy seven and me four.

"Hopefully we can get a couple of players in double figures next season, score a few more away from home and not rely on our home form as much. Our form here has been fantastic this season and it's been a pleasure to play in front of the Boleyn Ground crowd."

For Noble himself, he is looking forward to a brief period of relaxation before kicking on again ahead of the 2013/14 campaign.

He said: "I'll have two or three weeks rest. then start working again looking forward to pre-season, getting fit and then starting the Premier League again."

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