Sport Soccer

Tuesday 16 January 2018

Slaven Bilic bemused following Mark Noble's omission from England get-together

Slaven Bilic, pictured right, believes Mark Noble, left, deserves England recognition
Slaven Bilic, pictured right, believes Mark Noble, left, deserves England recognition

West Ham manager Slaven Bilic cannot believe Mark Noble is still being overlooked by England.

The Hammers captain has led his side to sixth in the Barclays Premier League, and into the fifth round of the FA Cup, while playing some of the best football of his career this season.

Yet the 28-year-old midfielder has never received a call-up to the national side and was not involved when Three Lions boss Roy Hodgson invited around 40 Euro 2016 hopefuls to a get-together at St George's Park on Thursday.

Former Croatia boss Bilic is convinced Noble warrants international recognition and also feels Hodgson should take a look at Hammers left-back Aaron Cresswell

"I was manager of a national team for six years," said Bilic. "People would say this and that from the other clubs, and I didn't mind it, but I don't like to interfere like that.

"But what I can say is that I haven't seen many midfielders who are having a better season than Mark Noble is having.

"And it's not only Mark Noble. I haven't seen a better left-back than Aaron Cresswell. So they should at least be mentioned."

Noble will lead West Ham out against Norwich at Carrow Road for his 24th Premier League start of the campaign.

The Hammers, who won a thrilling FA Cup replay against Liverpool after extra time on Tuesday night, will be looking to get their European push back on track following last week's defeat at Southampton.

Norwich, by contrast, have lost their last five matches to slip into the relegation zone.

West Ham lost three key players - Winston Reid, Joey O'Brien and Cheikhou Kouyate - to injuries against the Reds and are still without James Tomkins, Manuel Lanzini and Diafra Sakho.

Bilic said: "It's a big blow but I think we are going to put a strong team out. We have enough players.

"We lost our last league game at Southampton and we have a good game to bounce back.

"To stay up there we need to get something out of the game. Norwich lost five in a row but five games ago they were in a good situation.

"They had a good transfer window. They are fighting and they need a result like crazy so I expect a tough game. But we are confident and if we play like we did against Liverpool we will have a good chance."

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