Thursday, October 28, 2010

Mark Noble switching to Ireland?

Reports today are suggesting that West Ham’s Mark Noble has decided to switch his international allegiance from England to Ireland.

The 23 year old central midfielder has played all his youth and first team football for West Ham and despite his still relatively young age, is their longest serving player, joining the club as a full time trainee in the summer of 2003 and making his first team debut at the age of 17 in the Carling Cup against Southend in 2004.

Noble is seen as a combative central midfielder, always strong in the challenge and has a fantastic engine enabling him to play an old fashioned box to box central midfield role. And its no coincidence that Giovanni Trapattoni’s Ireland side have been struggling in the central midfield area for the past year, with Glen Whelan, Darron Gibson and Paul Green all failing to stamp their authority in the central midfield position during recent internationals. Ireland assistant boss Marco Tardelli was at Upton Park last night to see West Ham seal an extra-time victory over Stoke and a place in the Carling Cup quarter-finals.

Noble has represented England at u21 level and is believed to have been approached previously by Ireland when Steve Staunton was manager of the international side, a request that was declined by Noble at the time.

If the reports suggesting Noble’s change of international direction are true, it will come as a surprise to some in England who thought the Hammers midfielder could still challenge for a squad place in Fabio Capello’s side, although dislodging Gerrard and Lampard was an unlikely scenario for Noble.

There has been no formal or official confirmation from Noble or the FAI on the international allegiance issue, as yet.

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