Noble spirit for new season

Mark Noble may be the club's longest serving player and in the middle of his seventh pre-season at West Ham United but he still has the "same buzz" as ever.

Still only 23, the midfielder has been around the first-team picture at the Boleyn Ground since his debut aged 17 back in August 2004. He will expect to line up this evening away to MK Dons, having played a key role in the club's three wins from three so far this summer.

While tonight's match promises to be a tricky test, as will Saturday's trip to Ipswich Town, Noble said everything was about being ready for the glamour home date with RC Deportivo La Coruna on Saturday week and then the big Barclays Premier League kick-off away to Aston Villa seven days later.


Noble said: "I still get the same buzz at the start of the season and this year it will be different as for the first time in a few years as we are away. Before we play Aston Villa, we play Deportivo and our fans are going to be buzzing. Everyone will be fresh and ready to go.

"You just want to feel sharp for the new season and get used to being back at Upton Park. The pitch is always lovely and perfect. We always have good opponents, we have played the likes of Roma and Villarreal and we have got Deportivo this time who will be just as good a test."

The former England Under-21 captain has enjoyed his first extended summer break in three years after international commitments in 2008 and 2009 but spent much of his break watching the FIFA World Cup. He was particularly enamoured with Spain duo Xavi Hernandez and Andres Iniesta, and expected Deportivo to have a similar approach to the game as that magical midfield duo. 

"I am pleased we are playing a Spanish team again because we all know from the World Cup that they are technically very good. It will be a good work-out and a chance to try out the team shape. I want to play in the game and it will be nice to start well."