Mark Noble is looking forward to testing himself against more top European opposition when Sampdoria visit the Boleyn Ground on Saturday for the inaugural Marathonbet Cup.
Noble captained West Ham United for Sunday's conclusion to the Schalke Cup, which saw them come off second best against Spanish side Malaga following an impressive penalty shoot-out win against the tournament hosts the day before. With the squad now back in the UK, Noble's thoughts have quickly turned to the Hammers' final pre-season friendly against the Italian outfit, which will offer Sam Allardyce a last chance to test his squad before the season opener against Tottenham Hotspur in two weeks' time.
"It'll be nice to get back out at the Boleyn Ground against a top European side," Noble said. "It's our last game before the start of the season and it'll be nice to get back there playing in front of your own fans.
"With so many players coming in and some of the injuries we've got it'll be interesting to see what starting XI the gaffer will go with. We've got less than two weeks now to knuckle down and to become a proper team and hopefully we can get another couple of signings in to improve the squad and the team."
Malaga's victory meant the Spanish side won the four-team tournament that also featured fellow Barclays Premier League side Newcastle United. The Hammers had been in with a chance of winning the trophy following Saturday's 7-6 shoot-out win, but despite not bringing the silverware home, the Hammer of the Year saw the trip to Germany as a worthwhile exercise.
"In Germany the level was a lot higher and the teams were a lot better and we coped well in spells. We played Malaga and they had all the ball, but it was a good work out for the boys. We know the way the Spanish play; you expect that.
"It's hard as I've been through pre-seasons before and we've battered every team we've come across but then we've lost the first three games of the season.
"So I think in pre-season it's all about fitness, getting to a level where you want to be at to play in the Premier League. Hopefully we can get off to a good start as we got 14 points from our first eight games two seasons ago. We just need to get points on the board early doors and make life easy for ourselves."
Noble and the rest of the West Ham first-team squad will have a chance to meet Enner Valencia at training this week after the Ecuador World Cup star flew into London on Friday night. Noble admits he cannot wait to see what the Club's second most expensive signing ever can add to the squad as Sam Allardyce looks to shake up his attacking options.
"No pressure on him but we need him at the moment as we're bit light in that area. We just need our squad back together for the start of the season.
"Hopefully we can entertain the fans and put on a good show in our home games and then go away and be solid away from home. We've finished tenth and 13th so the aim will be to finish better than that this time around."