Danny Gabbidon says he knew this West Ham man would be a star from his teenage years

Mark Noble

The former Hammers defender recognised Mark Noble's ability to become a Premier League star when the midfielder was only 17.

Former West Ham defender Danny Gabbidon has hailed Mark Noble's achievements and said that he knew the Hammers captain was going to be a top-quality player when he first saw him at the club at the age of just 17, as quoted by London 24.

Noble has been the heartbeat of Slaven Bilic's successful Irons side this season as the club have climbed to within a point of a place in the Premier League top four, as well as moving to within one FA Cup replay victory of booking a Wembley semi-final.

The 28-year-old was granted a testimonial to recognise his 16 years of service to the club as both an academy product and a professional, with a host of former Irons stars turning out for the event on Monday.

Gabbidon was amongst the former players to play in recognition of Noble, and he hailed the achievement of the midfielder to earn the honour at such a relatively young age.

However, the 36-year-old insisted that he always knew the skipper would turn out to be a top-class player after seeing the ability he had at the age of just 17.

Gabbidon said, as quoted by London 24: "It is such an amazing achievement from someone who is still only 28.

"I remember when I first came to the club with James Collins and in the first couple of days training I remember seeing this 17-year-old. He had just come back from a loan spell and I thought straight away, this boy is going to be quality.

"The way West Ham has evolved over the years is incredible, but he has still been a part of that which just shows what an important player he is."

Such has been Noble's consistently impressive form at club level this season that he was tipped by many for a first England call-up for the friendlies with Germany and the Netherlands this week.

Despite being overlooked by Roy Hodgson, Noble can still achieve the best success of his career with the Hammers this season if he can lead the club to European qualification, a very real possibility with just eight league matches remaining.

There is also the possibility of the club reaching a first FA Cup final in a decade if they can overcome Manchester United at Upton Park on 13 April to book a semi-final date with Everton later next month.

Register for HITC Sport - Daily Dispatch