Mark Noble: I’ve got to enjoy every minute I can
Mark Noble is determined to enjoy every minute he spends on the pitch as his West Ham United career moves to a new stage.
After 13 seasons as a regular starter, Noble has taken on a different role this season, appearing mainly as a substitute in the Premier League, but continuing to lead and influence the squad both in the dressing room, on the training pitch and on matchdays.
The 33-year-old has also captained the Hammers in both Emirates FA Cup ties so far and put in a vintage performance as David Moyes’ side beat Doncaster Rovers 4-0 at London Stadium on Saturday to book a fifth-round trip to Manchester United.
I’ve done this for so many years now and haven’t really got that long left, so I’ve got to enjoy every minute I can
“I loved it out there!” he smiled. “You’ve got to think, I’ve done this for so many years now and haven’t really got that long left, so I’ve got to enjoy every minute I can, do you know what I mean?
“It’s great to see the boys and the team doing so well and being around it and being involved in the games and obviously playing against Doncaster and Stockport, I’ve just got to enjoy it.
“If you look at it, there is only a certain amount of games I’m going to be involved with left at West Ham. I’m 34 in May and we’ll see what happens next year, but I really enjoyed it on Saturday night.”
Noble clearly revelled in his latest opportunity to start, completing an amazing 148 of his 154 pass attempts and steering youngsters Oladapo Afolayan, Nathan Trott and Jamal Baptiste through their respective debuts.
The skipper was happy with the way his teammates, both young and old, handled the tie and now has a trip to Old Trafford to look forward to.
“I think it’s important that the players who haven’t obviously played as much as the others take games like this seriously, as you’ve got to show the opposition respect,” he said. “We watched Doncaster and we knew they were a good footballing team, but we knew with the players we had on the pitch that if we conducted ourselves properly then we’d win the game, and we did that. I thought the boys were fantastic.
“It was an all-round good night. We had a couple of the young boys come on – Nathan made his debut, young Jamal and Dapo scored on his debut – so it was a good night.”
Saturday’s win made it five in a row in all competitions for the first time since August 2012, and the No16 believes the squad is in good shape to continue that run at Crystal Palace in the Premier League on Tuesday evening.
“Long may it continue!” he told West Ham TV. “I think we’ve got a good starting team now and they’re really playing well. They’ve gelled and look strong and we don’t look like conceding goals.
“Things change, so you can’t take your foot off the pedal. Seasons change so quickly, but we know we have a chance of doing something pretty good this year.
“Palace away is a tough place to go, but we’re in good shape, the boys are confident and we’ve had some great results in the last couple of months.
“Saturday night showed we have players who are not in the first team who can play well and that kept our momentum going and pushing the others for a first team place.
“We’re looking forward to Tuesday night, so let’s go there and win.”