A fantastic occasion for Noble

Mark Noble made his first competitive appearance for the England Under-21s on Monday night as they drew 0-0 with the Czech Republic. The Hammers midfielder came on as a late second-half substitute and enjoyed his first taste of the UEFA Under-21 European Championship tournament.

"It was really good to come on and get my first competitive cap, even though it was only for 10 minutes," he said. "It's all experience and I can use that experience in future games.

"It was a lovely stadium and it was a fantastic occasion for me to come on and earn my first Under-21 cap. Hopefully there will be plenty more to come."

Mark was on the pitch when England earned a penalty three minutes from time but, despite his spot-kick success rate in training, Reading striker Leroy Lita was the obvious choice to take it.

"Leroy's our striker, he stepped up and he missed, but things like that happen and I'm sure he'll score plenty for us throughout the rest of the tournament," Mark said. "I have been practising penalties, just in case I'm called upon. We've practised penalties every day and I haven't missed one. I've scored eight out of eight so I'm hoping that gets noted.

"We had a disappointing result against the Czech Republic. We've got Italy next, they lost their first game and we both need to get a result. It will be a tough game but everyone's feeling relaxed and ready for it. Serbia also look strong and we face them in the following game, but we just have to play our best and hopefully come away with a couple of wins."

With his trademark affability, the 20-year-old has settled into the squad seamlessly. "I just get on with everyone, that's the kind of person I am," he said. "I'm making sure to keep training and relaxing when I can so I can keep fit because it's going to be a long old season.

"The gaffer's given me a bit of holiday at the end of the tournament so I'm sure I'll be lying on a beach somewhere for a bit. But I can't wait to get back to the Club and back into training with the boys. It will be a fantastic season next year."