West Ham captain Mark Noble relishes his final preseason, plays Celtic Park and welcomes our Euro 2020 heroes
Marc NobleWest Ham United’s 18th pre-season as a West Ham United first-team player may be their last, but the club captain is coming close like the previous 17.
The skipper may be 34 now, but he remains one of the fittest players out there, and that is due to the hard work he puts into each summer preparing for the campaign ahead.
This year is no different, with the midfielder giving 100% every day on the pitch and in the gym at Rush Green, while doing the right thing by eating, drinking, resting and recovering. his body for the challenges and demands to come.
With four pre-season games to go before the Premier League kicks off at Newcastle United on Sunday August 15, starting with a move to the EFL Championship side in Reading on Wednesday night – a game broadcast live on whufc. com – No16 cherishes every moment he left in a Bordeaux and Blue shirt.
Mark, we’re three weeks away from your last preseason as a West Ham United player. How are things going so far?
“I was sitting next to Mipo on Monday and I was like ‘He’s 18 and I’m 16 or 17 ahead of him in pre-season!’ and time goes by! ” he smiled. “When you’re involved like we are now, the weeks go by slowly because it’s tough, the races are tough and it’s tough work, but when I look back on my whole career, it seems like yesterday I was doing my first preseason.
“It’s weird because whatever I do, I think it’s going to be my last of them, but it’s nice and it’s been a nice three week opening. “
We have two games this week as things pick up, with Reading on Wednesday, then a trip to Scotland to play Celtic on Saturday?
“I’m looking forward to our games this week, but I’m old enough now to know that preseason is literally about being in good shape. A lot of people dwell on the results, but it doesn’t really matter – it’s just about getting in shape, staying in shape, and being ready for the season.
“Everyone approaches the preseason differently. You do your run on the training ground and then everyone shoot different things from the games so it’s another pair of games to get minutes in our legs and get used to the feel of the ball again because the season happens quickly.
Are you looking forward to playing on historic grounds like Celtic Park?
“It’s going to be amazing to play Celtic Park for the first time in my career. Obviously this is such a lovely place to go and play and I really love going to Scotland – in fact I was there three times in the summer!
“I’ve been golfing there a few times, then we obviously went to St Andrews for our training camp and loved it up there, and now we’re going back.
“Celtic Park is one of the most historic and atmospheric grounds around and while it won’t be full, I can’t wait to get out there and figure it all out.”
And the squad is getting stronger almost week by week as we welcome our international players back from their summer vacation?
“Obviously we’ve missed a lot of our players who were in international service and at the Euro and they’re slowly declining now. We have Said, Pablo and Łukasz back this week so our squad is reforming.
“Declan will be the last to return due to the distance he has traveled and England, but we are looking forward to getting everyone back together.
“I hope they all come back proud of themselves. The Czech boys had a fantastic tournament, Yarma was fantastic at Euro and obviously we know how well Dec played, especially in the final when I thought he was the best player on the pitch for 70 minutes.
“They deserve their well-deserved break, but we can’t wait to get our whole team back, so we’re ready to go in August. “