Having been consistently overlooked in his efforts to earn senior international recognition, West Ham United midfielder Mark Noble could be forgiven for wondering what he has to do to get a look in with England.
The retirement of former skipper Steven Gerrard after the World Cup finals, which was quickly followed by that of the long-serving Frank Lampard, was supposed to open the door for Noble.
Roy Hodgson appears to have lost his map of the East End, though, with other options favoured at the start of Euro 2016 qualification.
Swansea City’s Jonjo Shelvey and Aston Villa’s Fabian Delph have been given the nod, while the likes of Liverpool’s Jordan Henderson and Arsenal’s Jack Wilshere bring top-four quality to the middle of the park.
Noble can, however, claim to now offer that himself, with a run of three straight wins, and four in five, carrying West Ham into the Champions League places and allowing thoughts to drift towards possible call-ups.
“Fingers crossed.” West Ham’s longest-serving player said in the Newham Recorder. “Obviously it helps when the team is playing well and sitting in third or fourth place in the league.”
Noble added on others hoping to catch Hodgson’s eye: “I am pretty sure he was watching Stewart Downing as well as he has been in great form, but hopefully it happens this time.”
England’s next outing will see them welcome Slovenia to Wembley on November 15, with the Three Lions having made a faultless start in their quest to reach France 2016.
There is also the small matter of a meeting with rivals Scotland to look forward to, with all of those in contention north and south of the border determined to be involved at Celtic Park.
It would come as something of a surprise were Noble not figuring in Hodgson’s thoughts ahead of those fixtures, with a former captain of the England U21 side fully deserving of an opportunity to prove that he can cut it at the very highest level – with his vision, passing ability and keen eye for goal all attributes that are difficult to ignore.