Does this West Ham midfielder deserve England chance after being warned off Ireland?

Mark Noble

Former Republic of Ireland midfielder Kevin Kilbane has voiced his concern over a potential call-up for Mark Noble.

Noble, 27, has become a key part of West Ham's team in recent years having come through the club's academy. After joining as a 13-year-old, Noble has gone on to make almost 300 appearances for the Hammers, racking up over 30 goals and over 40 assists during his time as a first team player at Upton Park.

One of the more underrated players in the Premier League, Noble is a tireless midfield with great passing and an eye for goal - leading to some speculating that he should be in Roy Hodgson's plans for the England squad. Despite making 20 appearances for the Under-21 side, Noble is yet to be capped at senior level - and rumours suggest that Noble could now turn his attention to playing for the Republic of Ireland.

Noble's grandparents are from Cork, meaning that he is eligible to play for Martin O'Neill's side. With no England interest forthcoming, speculation last week suggested that Noble was willing to make himself available for selection for Ireland - but former Ireland defender Kevin Kilbane, who was born in Preston, says he's uneasy about the prospect.

"Look at it on face value and he’s a good player," said Kilbane. "We know he’s played very well in the Premier League over the last 10 years or whatever it is."

"But there are a lot of issues with me personally, growing up in England, desperate to play for Ireland and knowing what it meant to so many others in my situation as well."

"It doesn't sit quite right with me with me knowing that he is still keeping us waiting and he’s been keeping us waiting for a number of years, that’s been my issue as well. We’re like a last resort."

Seemingly unwelcome with Ireland, Noble's international future is in limbo - but should he be handed a chance to impress for England?

Manager Hodgson recently called up Fabian Delph to his squad after good performances for Aston Villa, and an argument can certainly be made for the case that Noble has been just as good as Delph over the last 12-18 months. In fact, this graphic from Squawka showed how Noble stacked up against other English midfielders ahead of the World Cup - and in many instances, he was outperforming his rivals, all of whom were more strongly considered for selection.

It seems like a make or break campaign for Noble on the international front. Continue to impress for West Ham and he could at least make it into Hodgson's thinking for a friendly fixture, but if by January there is still little interest, then it may be time to represent Ireland - no matter what Kilbane says.

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