Mark Noble: It'll be an amazing occasion
Mark Noble cannot wait for Thursday's UEFA Europa League opener at Dinamo Zagreb.
Excluding qualifiers, West Ham United will face their first test on the European stage in 15 years when they step out at the Stadion Maksimir, with Hammers skipper Noble looking forward to experiencing the occasion alongside close to 2,000 travelling fans.
More than the occasion alone, though, Noble is convinced his team possess the tools to make a splash in the competition and they will be giving their all to ensure the campaign is a memorable one.
"It's an amazing occasion," Noble said. "We did fantastically well last year to get to this point and it's been three or four months of excitement and looking forward to who we drew in the group stages.
"We've got a full squad - everyone ready to go and play. We've got four signings ready and used to this football, so we're well prepared and we're really excited about everything."
After the 18 months we've had without fans in, for us to come back into the Europa League and give our fans a European win would be fantastic
Noble certainly won't be underestimating the challenge that Dinamo Zagreb will pose though, as the Croatian champions are seasoned European veterans having reached the Europa League quarter-finals last term.
He continued: "Will it be tough? Yes. Dinamo have a really good team and we saw the result they had against Spurs [a 3-0 victory last season] which was really impressive, but we come here unbeaten in the Premier League this season and with eight points picked up.
"We're not really used to being in this position, in the Europa League, but we're used to that winning feeling at the minute and we don't want to give that up. Hopefully we can get the result that we want."
Noble is also delighted that the Claret & Blue Army will get to share in the experience and is looking forward to hearing their backing from the stands.
"I think they're just over the moon that they can watch us play again, and it's an added bonus we're playing in Europe, too," he said.
"Everywhere we've been in the world, whether it's pre-season games in Europe or in the Premier League, we always get fantastic support. We're used to that.
"Dinamo have got fantastic support as well so I'm hoping the atmosphere is great, and we're hoping that we can leave with a win because after the 18 months we've had without fans in, for us to come back into the Europa League and give our fans a European win would be fantastic."