Noble relishing opening games

  • Mark Noble looking forward to opening-day Premier League trip to Chelsea
  • Hammers kick-off season with a visit to Stamford Bridge on Saturday 13 August
  • Skipper also impressed with form of teammate Dimitri Payet at Euro 2016
Mark Noble cannot wait to return for pre-season training after West Ham United were handed a trip to Chelsea to open the 2016/17 Premier League season.

The captain has enjoyed a well-earned summer break, but will be back in his native east London on Thursday 23 June for the grand opening of the new Stadium Store on Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park.

Nine days later, Noble and his teammates – save for those on UEFA Euro 2016 duty – will be back on the training pitch to begin preparations for what will be a hugely exciting campaign.

The Hammers kick-off at Stamford Bridge on Saturday 13 August before welcoming AFC Bournemouth to the London Stadium the following weekend. A full fixture list can be found here.

With the UEFA Europa League third qualifying round and Betway Cup visit of Italian champions Juventus to further whet the appetite, Noble told he is buzzing to pull on a Claret and Blue shirt again soon.
“What a first game to open the season!” said the No16. “Chelsea away is a great one for the fans and for us players alike and everyone’s excited about that game and then our big first Premier League game at our new Stadium against Bournemouth.

“I’ve spoken to a few of the lads over the summer, including Dimitri, Darren and Angelo who are away at the Euros and obviously we’re supporting them all and looking forward to all meeting up again for pre-season training.”

Noble has been a keen viewer of UEFA Euro 2016 and was understandably impressed by how Dimitri Payet kicked-off the tournament with a match-winning display for France.

Payet scored one goal and made the other as the host nation beat Romania 2-1, while fellow Hammers James Collins and Angelo Ogbonna also enjoyed opening victories for Wales and Italy respectively.

“Dimi’s performance against Romania last Friday night was immense and I got a bit carried away on Twitter, tweeting that I love him, but then how can I not!” said Noble.

“Ginge and his Wales mates did great too, beating Slovakia in their opening match, and now the stage is set for a big game with England on Thursday, which we’ll all be watching closely I’m sure.”

When Noble returns to the training ground on 1 July, he will be joined by new boy Sofiane Feghouli, who will be joining the Hammers on a free transfer from Spanish club Valencia.

The highly-rated winger arrives after six productive seasons in La Liga and Noble is among his admirers.

“I would like to welcome Sofiane Feghouli to West Ham and I’m looking forward to meeting up with him in pre-season and introducing him to the lads.”

West Ham kick-off pre-season with a two-match US Tour, where they will take on Seattle Sounders and Carolina RailHawks. For more information about the tour, click here now.