Maltese Hammers member Naomi Galea pays tribute to Monday’s Testimonial recipient and West Ham United hero Mark Noble…
It seems like nowadays a lot of fans, pundits, former players and neutrals are seeing the hard work and effort Mark Noble puts in. He is getting recognised by everyone and so he should be.
A lot ask the question why he hasn't yet been chosen to play for the England side and it baffles me why Roy Hodgson hasn't given him a chance yet.
Firstly, his recent performances and statistics all show that he is probably one of the best, if not the best English player in his position. Secondly, I still remember very clearly when he captained the England Under-21 team to the European Championship final. His performance that day was outstanding and at a young age already showed signs of what a good captain he can be!
Although England lost on penalties they gave Germany a very tough job. From that German team, nine players now play for the senior squad regularly and all went to win the World Cup. Just James Milner gets picked from that English team which just shows where England, in my opinion, get it wrong! If Noble gets picked it's not by luck but by hard work and consistency in his performances for the Hammers!
I started following Mark right from when Alan Pardew gave him his debut. For some reason something told me he is going to do big things for us and I'm getting proven right!
My first memory of Nobes is at the Play-Off final against Preston in 2005. When Bobby Zamora scored he was warming up by the touchline and he was the first one to go celebrate by jumping on the back of Bobby, there and then he became my favourite player and nothing has changed ever since!
When first meeting him in 2008, I then knew what a nice guy he really is and you could see clearly the love he has for West Ham! That clearly came out in the Great Escape season! The passion he showed was incredible and I think there is nothing wrong when he cried against Tottenham when we lost 3-4.
I think that when your team is going through a tough time everyone can get a bit emotional and that day the West Ham fan in Mark Noble came out and in the last game of the season too when I saw him celebrate and cry at the end I couldn't help but get emotional myself!
As far as goals go, I can't pick a favourite because I like them all but if I had to choose three I would go for his first wonder goal versus Spurs, the one against Wolves and the stunning strike this year versus Norwich.
There is no need for me to tell you how good he is at taking penalties. He just steps up and does the job calmly and confidently. My favourite has to be the one against Liverpool at home in the dying minutes where we went on to win 1-0!
These last eleven years I always gave my Hammer of the Year vote to him not only because he's my favourite but purely because I think he deserves it! Now we are seeing the greatness of Mark!
He masters the dirty work, clears his lines and what can I say about the Mark and Dimi partnership? I just love it!
But it's not just that he's giving. He's doing his job in being a true leader and a good captain. He teaches the kids, makes new players settle in very quickly and keeps the team united and in my opinion a lot of the success we are having this season is partly because of the work Mark puts in on and off the pitch!
Meeting him back in Malta, my country, last year was just the cherry on the cake and just proved again what a great man he is!
So I think it's only deserving for him to have this Testimonial, as today not a lot of players reach such an important milestone, for the Club he plays and loves so much! I'm so pleased and happy that my favourite player is going to be the last ever captain to walk out a team at the Boleyn and the first one and the new Stadium!
Pride, passion, hard-working, consistency, loyalty and legend are all the words that spring to mind when I think of Mark Noble and West Ham are lucky to have found a player like him who plays for the badge and gives his all for the Club he loves!
Let's hope there are many more years of Mark in the famous Claret and Blue!
Come On You Irons! ?
The opinions expressed in this article are not necessarily the opinions of West Ham United.