Mark Noble has urged whoever replaces the injured Andriy Yarmolenko in the starting XI at Leicester City to seize their opportunity.
The Ukrainian’s unfortunate absence means West Ham United will need to draft in a new right winger for Saturday’s Premier League fixture at the King Power Stadium.
One potential starter is Grady Diangana and, if the 20-year-old is the man chosen by manager Manuel Pellegrini, captain Noble has urged the Academy graduate to step up, as he did in the high-profile derby with Tottenham Hotspur last weekend.
At the end of the day, injuries will happen and that’s why you have a squad
“In team sports, one man’s disaster is another man’s opportunity and I thought young Grady Diangana did really well when he came on, especially in such a big game,” said the skipper, who shared an instructive tale from early in his own playing career. “At the end of the day, injuries will happen and that’s why you have a squad.
“I still remember something Chris Powell, who is manager at Southend now but who played for us for a time, taught me when I was a young player like Grady and had just broken into the team. I had done well and our next game was at home to Derby, but manager Alan Pardew told me I wasn’t playing. I think he was trying to protect me a little bit, but I was gutted.
“I turned up for the match, opened my locker in the dressing room and Chris had left me one of those yellow Post-it notes, which read: ‘Always be ready.’
“Pards brought me on early against Derby because of an injury and I got the man-of-the-match award. I’ve never forgotten that message and I like to think I’ve taken his advice. If you’re not picked, don’t sulk, don’t be upset, be ready, because your chance will come.”
West Ham are seeking consecutive victories at the King Power Stadium after scoring a vital 2-0 win in May which secured the Hammers’ Premier League status – highlighted by an unstoppable strike from Noble.
“We’re at Leicester on Saturday and the corresponding game near the end of last season brings back good memories,” he reminisced. “I scored one of the goals in a 2-0 win and the accumulation of how important the goal was and the goal itself probably made it the best in my career so far.
“The win gave us that bit of a cushion and effectively made us safe in the Premier League. We played so well that day as well, we fully deserved to win and after that we drew with Manchester United and then beat Everton.
“The home defeat by Spurs on Saturday was disappointing, especially since we feel we deserved something from the game. Inconsistency is a problem at the moment, but apart from the top six, that’s the rest of the League in a nutshell.”