Noble backs Tomka claims

Mark Noble has backed West Ham United team-mate James Tomkins to join him in England's squad for this summer's UEFA European Under-21 Championship in June.

Former Hammer Stuart Pearce is widely expected to name Noble in his 23-man selection for the tournament, which sees England drawn alongside Finland, Spain and Germany in Group B.

The midfielder, who turned 22 on Friday, believes central defender Tomkins, 20, has done more than enough to join him on the plane to Sweden.

Both Academy graduates did their chances of being included no harm at all by producing impressive performances in front of watching England head coach Fabio Capello during Saturday's Premier League defeat to Liverpool at the Boleyn Ground.

Despite the final scoreline, Noble put on an excellent all-round display, catching the eye with his perceptive passing, tough tackling and dangerous set pieces. Tomkins, too, was not intimidated by the challenge of facing the combined talents of Spain striker Fernando Torres and England midfielder Steven Gerrard.

"I just want to do that every week, but it wasn't just me," said Noble. "Tomka was superb and obviously it was good for him to show that. We've got the Under-21 tournament in the summer and hopefully he'll be in that with me. I think he's done more than well enough to earn that and has been fantastic since he's come in, so hopefully he'll get that opportunity."

While Noble was pleased with his personal performance, the youngster admitted that his pleasure was tempered by the disappointment of being beaten by the title-chasing Reds.

Gerrard put Liverpool a goal up after just 77 seconds before doubling his side's lead after Robert Green had initially saved his 38th minute penalty. However, the Hammers passed up a number of presentable opportunities to score themselves before the break, with David Di Michele and Radoslav Kovac both going close.

"It's only a superb performance if you win. It was nice because I thought I did well but, at the end of the day, we lost the game 3-0. The early goal killed us and obviously it was a little bit of a shame that David didn't but his chance away. I thought they got a little bit lucky with the penalty as well, so luck wasn't on our side.

"They are Liverpool and they're going for the title so I thought our first half performance wasn't too bad. If we could have scored one of a couple of chances [we created it could have been different]. Kova's header from my free-kick was a good chance, as was David's, but that was about it. We're a little bit gutted, to be honest with you."

"They weren't that much better than us, not really, but when you have the likes of Torres and Gerrard who combine so well together, they're going to take their chances."

Noble was slightly aggrieved by referee Alan Wiley's decision not to award a free-kick to Luis Boa Morte after the Portuguese winger appeared to be felled by former West Ham team-mate Javier Mascherano. Seconds later, Boa Morte was penalised for a foul on Torres inside the home penalty area, handing Gerrard the chance to double Liverpool's lead, which he took at the second attempt.

Following Saturday's defeat, the Hammers' longest-serving player is eager to bounce back at Everton this weekend and still believes Gianfranco Zola's men can secure a top-seven finish and a spot in next season's inaugural UEFA Europa League. West Ham are currently ninth, two points behind seventh-placed Fulham with two games remaining.

"Luis was still frustrated from the free-kick that should have been as Mascherano wasn't anywhere near the ball and he gave away the penalty. It's a little bit gutting on our behalf but we're still in a good position, we've got two more games left and we need to do well in them.

"We go into every game thinking we can win it. We go up there obviously knowing that Everton are a fantastic side who have been doing really well recently, but we'll go there are really believe we can get a result. I'll believe it and I'm pretty sure all the other boys do, so it's a case of working hard in training this week and giving a good performance up there."