Mark Noble hopes to bring curtain down on West Ham career with European glory

Captain Noble is in line to start against Dinamo Zagreb on Thursday night at the beginning of West Ham’s first ever Europa League group stage.

Mark Noble in action for West Ham
Mark Noble in action for West Ham

Mark Noble wants to bring the curtain down on his West Ham career with European glory.

The Hammers’ club captain is in line to start against Dinamo Zagreb on Thursday night at the beginning of West Ham’s first ever Europa League group stage campaign, in what is his 18th and final season at the club.

With his Premier League game time restricted these days by the form of Declan Rice and Tomas Soucek, 34-year-old Noble is desperate to grab his chance on the continent, especially with 2,000 West Ham fans making the trip to Croatia.

The long-serving midfielder said: “It’s an amazing occasion. It’s been three or four months of excitement, looking forward to the draw, and we’re here now with a full squad, everyone ready to go and play, so we are well prepared and really excited about everything.

“My main aim this season is to make sure we have a good Premier League season, hopefully progress through the Europa League group stages and end my playing career at West Ham on a high note.

“Getting into this competition last year was fantastic and once you enter a competition the aim is to win it – and I don’t see why we can’t do that.

“The main aim is to win and hopefully we can put on a show for our travelling fans.”

Noble has seen it all during his time in east London; relegations, play-off wins, cup final defeats, takeovers, stadium moves and managerial upheaval.

But he feels under David Moyes, the club can at last start laying the foundations to set their sights even higher than the Europa League.

“I’ve seen some ups and downs,” he smiled. “But we’ve actually had a really solid two years.

“If you look at the manager’s Everton side it was strong and could compete in every game and that’s how we are now.

“I think if we can do what we’ve done over the last two years and build on it – this year the Europa League is fantastic – but why can’t we set our sights further and keep pushing on?

“We’ve got a much better foundation now and hopefully we’ll keep progressing.”

Moyes is set to make further changes with new signings Kurt Zouma, Nikola Vlasic, Alphonse Areola and Alex Kral all poised for full debuts.

But Moyes confirmed Michail Antonio is in his thinking to start after the striker’s red card at Southampton handed him an enforced rest against Manchester United on Sunday.

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