Look, we all love Mark Noble. He has been with West Ham from the very beginning. He is a beloved member of this West Ham squad, and he is an obvious fan favorite. But (hot take alert), despite Noble’s incessant work rate and his love for the shirt, the team and the game are moving too quickly for him anymore.
We would certainly miss his cheekiness.
Noble’s inarguable specialty has always been his skill from the penalty spot, but West Ham’s most technically gifted player, Manuel Lanzini, is just as good from the spot, if not better.
Michail Antonio claims that Manuel Lanzini is the best penalty taker at West Ham, not Mark Noble. pic.twitter.com/FgYfRYuVyC— West Ham News (@WHUFC_News) December 22, 2016
And, apparently, we’re not the only ones that think that.
West Ham have also just signed Robert Snodgrass this January, who is a deadly dead ball specialist (pun intended). Snodgrass was Hull City’s main penalty taker before the switch, scoring two from the spot—one against Arsenal and the other against Crystal Palace. Although Snodgrass is the same age as Mark Noble at 29, he can put so much movement on the ball, and he is absolutely explosive off of that right wing. Him crossing in to Andy Carroll on those corner kicks will be even better than having Payet, the free kick merchant, on those set pieces.
As aforementioned, Mark Noble is now 29 years old, and the time may be nigh for him to start transitioning into being a squad player. With Pedro Obiang, Cheikhou Kouyate, and Edimilson Fernandes, along with all of the youngsters that are on the come up (Josh Cullen especially), Noble is no longer someone that should be starting game in and game out. There’s too much above-average quality in the midfield for Slaven Bilic to be starting an average Noble just because he’s tenured. We know that Noble is a fantastic leader, but he can lead from the bench too.
Carroll: "Every day Mark Noble brings the lads together, he gets involved, he's a leader. He's West Ham." pic.twitter.com/6vp1M8nY8p— West Ham News (@WHUFC_News) January 31, 2017
If West Ham could make it into the Europa League again, there’d be more than enough room to work Noble in, but if West Ham are going to want to try and make the Europa League by the 2018/19 season, they’ve got to be playing their best XI every game, and that is no longer Mark Noble, however unfortunate that may be.