Noble ‘can’t wait’ for Juve date

Captain Mark Noble is relishing the Betway Cup clash with Italian champions Juventus on Sunday 7 August
Mark Noble cannot wait to lead West Ham United out to face Italian giants Juventus at the Hammers’ new home on Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park.

The captain was at the Club’s 60,000-capacity future home in Stratford on Monday morning, when it was announced that the Serie A leaders will provide the opposition in the 2016 Betway Cup.

Juventus, who are a point away from clinching their fifth straight title, will head to east London for the first time in their history for what Noble believes will be a ‘special’ occasion on Sunday 7 August at 1pm.

“It's amazing,” the skipper, who was joined at the new Stadium by former Juve defender Angelo Ogbonna, told West Ham TV. “To have the Old Lady, as you call them, here will be special. I know the place will be sold out no doubt as it will be the first game here, and I can't wait!

“We couldn't ask for a bigger club. They have won their league for the last three or four years. It will be special for Angelo, too.

“I'm looking forward to getting away on holiday, having a good pre-season knowing you're coming back here to play Juventus.”
West Ham fans will want to say they were here for the first game at the new Stadium
Tickets for the mouth-watering visit of Massimiliano Allegri’s star-studded UEFA Champions League regulars went on sale to 2015/16 Season Ticket Holders at 12noon here and Noble fully expects every last seat to be snapped up.

“West Ham fans will want to say they were here for the first game at the new Stadium,” he continued. “I'm sure there will be a few special things on the day. As we know, the result doesn't matter but it's about getting fit in pre-season.

“The new Stadium is a lot bigger than our old place, so to hear the roar of 60,000 people will be a bit different. I'm used to obviously 35,000 every other week, so I'm looking forward to getting in here now.

“We can see it and it looks real and we’re looking forward to turning up here and getting in the changing room and enjoying the day.”

While West Ham want to be playing Juventus – who they have never faced before – in European competition rather than pre-season matches, Noble did point out that the Italians have developed their title-winning squad through years and years of planning and investment.

The Hammers are in with a real shot of a top-six Barclays Premier League finish this season, and a place in next year’s UEFA Europa League, but the No16 knows nothing will come easy as the Club seek to establish themselves as a force on the continental stage.

“We want to try not to run before we can walk. We're doing well at the minute and we want to win our games before the end of the season and see where that takes us but I think we've had a fantastic season. The players, fans and staff have loved it.

“My one concern is because we've had such an amazing season and some of the highs we've had here and it's the most important in the Club's history, we forget we're still a work in progress.

“We are still going to have new players coming in and players leaving and we need the fans to stick with us and get behind us as they have this year and move on together.”