Noble delight at Under-21 call-up

Mark Noble has been named in a provisional 30-man England squad for the forthcoming UEFA European Under-21 Championships.

The 20-year-old midfielder received the call-up following several sparkling performances for the Hammers recently, and admits to being delighted by the news, even though he has more pressing matters on his mind at the moment...

"I'm delighted, it's a massive honour to be called up by your country," says Mark. "I'm trying not to think about it too much, though, because I want to stay focused on Sunday's game - that is all that matters to me at the moment.

"I only found out about the call-up when a mate rang me to say he had heard something, so my dad checked it on the FA website, and there it was. To be named in an England under-21 squad is a great achievement and hopefully I can make an impression when I get my chance.

"As I said, though, for now I'm just concentrating on the game at Old Trafford - I'll be able to look forward to the England situation a lot more if we've got the result we need on Sunday to stay up!"

Mark's Upton Park team-mates Anton Ferdinand and Nigel Reo-Coker have also been included in the 30-man squad. England under-21 coach Stuart Pearce will name a final squad of 23 players on Wednesday 30 May for the tournament in Holland.

Prior to the Championship, the under-21s will travel to Spain for a training camp in the week beginning 21 May before taking on Slovakia in their final warm-up game at Norwich City's Carrow Road stadium on Tuesday 5 June.

The Under-21 Championship begins on Sunday 10 June, with England's opening fixture against the Czech Republic being played in Arnhem on Monday 11 June.