Nouble going for goal

Having made his first Barclays Premier League start for West Ham United, Frank Nouble is now determined to net his maiden goal for the club.

The 18-year-old put in a hugely promising performance playing as a lone striker in last Sunday's goalless draw at Aston Villa, troubling international centre-backs Richard Dunne and James Collins with his pace, power and ability to run with the ball.

Nouble's display would have caught the eye of the millions of television viewers watching the match live, along with the 35,000-plus supporters inside Villa Park.

The only thing missing from the England Under-19 man's afternoon was a goal, but he insisted it will not be long before his name is on the scoresheet.

"I was delighted to make my first Premier League start," he said. "I was happy when I got told I was playing before the game and I just tried to work hard and get a goal.

"It's definitely time for me to score. I've got two games under my belt now and there should be goals coming in the third and fourth!"

Having made his full debut for the Hammers against Arsenal's William Gallas and Thomas Vermaelen in the FA Cup third round, the south London-born forward has enjoyed a baptism of fire in first-team football. However, with the attributes he possesses, Nouble has been far from daunted by the challenge.

"Playing against Dunne and Collins was hard physically and was a test. I thought I showed that I was hard to handle as well, so it was good. I knew that, running wise, I can trouble most defenders. Physically, I'm getting there. I tried to use my pace as we played counter-attacking football and it worked."

Nouble's role against Martin O'Neill's side was similar to that played by another former Chelsea trainee, Carlton Cole, and Mexico international Guille Franco this season.

The youngster is keen to learn from both, as well as manager Gianfranco Zola, who he has been enjoying one-on-one coaching sessions with in recent weeks.

"I'm happy with the way things are going. I was happy to get my second start and hopefully I can keep putting in the performances. When Coley and Franco come back it's also good because I can watch and learn from the best as well.

"Coming from last year when I was playing in the reserves and stuff like that, playing in the Premier League on Sky is a bit different. I'm delighted and chuffed for what the manager has done for me. He gives me tips, little small stuff that strikers do. He was a two-footed striker so it's easy for me to watch and learn from what he does.

Experience is something Nouble is keen to acquire, whether it be in learning how to play his position or in wearing suitable footwear, having had trouble keeping his balance on the greasy Villa Park pitch.

"My studs weren't as long as they should have been, so a couple of times I slipped in crucial positions. Most of the game it was OK, though, and I'll make sure I don't make the same mistake again!"