Mark Noble will not give up in his quest to become an England international ahead of his West Ham testimonial.
The Hammers are fifth in the Barclays Premier League, in contention for Champions League qualification, and face Manchester United in an FA Cup quarter-final replay. Should Slaven Bilic’s men reach Europe’s elite or lift a trophy, captain Noble will be ecstatic.
“If half of that happens I’ll be doing ‘Klinsmanns’ across my kitchen,” said Noble, referring to the dives named after the former Germany striker.
The 28-year-old will be honoured for his lengthy and distinguished service at West Ham with a testimonial in front of a sold out, 35,000-crowd at Upton Park on Monday.
The match was scheduled during the international break, when England play Germany and Holland. Noble had been tipped for a call-up, but Roy Hodgson did not select him and the midfielder has given up on earning a place at this summer’s European Championship, but not on an international career beyond that.
“With all the speculation at one point it was a worry, but we always said it would be a good worry to have. It wasn’t meant to be,” added Noble, who made 20 England Under-21 appearances but is yet to feature in the senior side.
“For the Euros, probably yes (I have given up hope), but for England, I don’t give up. It’s not just about me. It’s about a lot of very, very good players and they’ve got a tournament to try to win in the summer.”
The testimonial will raise funds for three charities: Help for Heroes, which supports injured armed forces personnel; the Richard House Children’s Hospice, which provides care and respite to families and children with life-limiting illnesses; and, the DT38 Foundation, named after former West Ham player Dylan Tombides, who died aged 20 after testicular cancer and raises awareness of the disease.
“If we can help change one person’s life then it will all be worthwhile,” Noble added.
Noble made his West Ham debut aged 17, has close to 350 career appearances for the Hammers and holds the club record for Premier League appearances, with 251. This season is his 12th in the first-team squad.
A squad of current West Ham players will play against a West Ham All-Stars side which includes Teddy Sheringham, Paolo Di Canio, Rio Ferdinand, Michael Carrick, Jamie Redknapp, Scott Parker and numerous others in the final testimonial to be held before West Ham move to the Olympic Stadium from next season.
“It’s overwhelming,” Noble added.
“It’s an honour for me to sit here as a lifelong West Ham fan and to have the privilege of captaining this club and to be able to play in a testimonial, the last one that’s going to take place in this stadium is a massive honour.
“I wanted it here. To be able to play a testimonial, in a season like this, the last season at the Boleyn Ground, is pretty special.
“It wouldn’t have been the same anywhere else, because I’ve played for a long time now and I’ve got an affection with the fans, something special.”