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Friday 19 January 2018

Slaven Bilic: Mark Noble can do a job for England at Euro 2016

Mark Noble scored twice as the Hammers breezed past the Baggies 3-0
Mark Noble scored twice as the Hammers breezed past the Baggies 3-0

West Ham boss Slaven Bilic insists Mark Noble can still help England at Euro 2016.

The 28-year-old has a career-best seven league goals this term after a brace in Saturday's 3-0 cruise at West Brom.

He was left out of Roy Hodgson's squad for their friendlies with Germany and Holland last month to leave his hopes of a call up for France this summer slim.

But Bilic reiterated his belief uncapped Noble would make a difference for the Three Lions.

The former Croatia boss said: "I was an international coach for six years and the national team is not about the 23 best players in one country. It's also a team, especially in the big tournaments where they are together for six weeks.

"It needs atmosphere and everything - stars and lesser stars and all that. Mark is a great person also. He's playing great. He could help England.

"There are not many but there are no midfielders who are having a better season than he is - constantly from the first game at Arsenal. He's unbelievable. He's playing for the club and doing great."

And Bilic said, while he does not want to tell Hodgson who to pick, he remains surprised West Ham's English players are overlooked.

He said: "It's not only Mark, I was talking about all our English players - especially Mark and (Aaron) Cresswell. I don't want to interfere but to be fair I don't see any of them playing better than Mark or Aaron in their positions."

Victory set a club record points total of 59 in the Barclays Premier League and they remain in the hunt for Europe after Cheikhou Kouyate opened the scoring.

"I'm not going to lie and say it doesn't mean anything - of course it does. It's proof that the boys are doing a good job and long may it continue," Bilic added.

West Brom gave a full debut to forward Jonathan Leko and the 17-year-old admitted boss Tony Pulis caught him off guard.

He said: "I was in the toilet and the gaffer called me out and said 'you're starting' and I was like 'what!?'. I liked it, it was a bit of a surprise."

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