Paul Ince bemused by Roy Hodgson's decision to overlook West Ham stalwart Mark Noble

Mark Noble

The former England international has questioned the logic by some selection decisions made of late.

Whenever an England squad is announced, particularly for friendly contests where experimentation is often the order of the day and caps rain down like confetti, debate is sparked as to those considered unfortunate to miss out.

One name that frequently crops up in such musings is that of West Ham United midfielder Mark Noble.

A former skipper of the U21 side, with 20 outings made at that level, many believed it to be only a matter of time before senior recognition came his way – especially as he has been a reliable and consistent performer on a Premier League stage for many years now.

Unfortunately for Noble, though, he always appears to fall a notch or two down the pecking order, with the eye-catching form or emergence onto the scene of others leaving him in the shadows and unable to get a look in.

That remains the case at present, with the likes of Fabian Delph and Jonjo Shelvey having been promoted ahead of him, and Dele Alli and Eric Dier bursting onto the scene at Tottenham Hotspur to force their way into the reckoning.

He was even overlooked in favour of Manchester United’s Jesse Lingard – a man with just six top-flight appearances to his name – in Roy Hodgson’s most recent squad, with the call made to Old Trafford rather than the Boleyn Ground when injuries struck and replacements were required.

Former Upton Park academy graduate Paul Ince is among those to have been left bemused by the continued reluctance to recognise Noble, with the ex-England captain of the opinion that the Three Lions are missing out on a man who brings a bit of everything to the table.

Ince, speaking exclusively to 888poker.com ahead of the West Ham v Manchester United fixture this weekend, said: “This is nothing against Dele Alli but Mark Noble has been outstanding for West Ham for many, many years. Dele Alli gets a move to Tottenham and all of a sudden he’s in the England side.

“Noble gets forward, he passes, he can tackle, he’s the captain of the club now so he’s a leader. He gets up and down and you don’t get many box-to-box midfielders anymore. I can’t believe he cannot get in the squad.

“Jesse Lingard plays a game for Man United and scores – he’s in the England squad. How the hell can they not put Mark Noble in there especially when you see who we’ve lost in Lampard and Gerrard. It’s a question that baffles me every time the squad is announced.”

You can read the full and frank interview – including Ince’s views on Louis Van Gaal and modern-day midfielders – here, while continuing to discuss the merits of an England call-up for Noble and a selection of his East End teammates.

Given how West Ham started the 2015/16 campaign, and how key man have fared in recent times, you have to imagine that it is only a matter of time before the likes of Carl Jenkinson, Aaron Cresswell and James Tomkins are considered, with Andy Carroll another of those hoping to force his way into the mix.

For Noble, though, you get the feeling that he may be cursed and, at the age of 28, the door to international football, regardless of how hard he knocks, will remain shut as younger alternatives step through ahead of him.

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