Every season, the same question seems to pop up: will Mark Noble still play an important role for West Ham?
The answer is still a resounding yes, as it has been before the start of every season since he became a first-team regular over a decade ago.
The leadership qualities he has are the usual reasons given for why he will still make an impact, though while this is, of course, an important part of his role at the club, this perhaps underestimates his other contributions on the pitch.
He may not be the mainstay he used to be, but Noble started 29 league games last season, coming on as a substitute twice – that isn’t bad for a player various people have claimed could be getting phased out of the side.
In that time, he managed five goals and five assists – an impressive total for somebody who isn’t considered to be the most attack-minded of players.
Anyone needing a reminder of the quality West Ham’s captain possesses needn’t look far, as he showed it in the final game of the 2018/19 season, when he led the Hammers to a 4-1 win over Watford.
Noble opened the scoring when he played a one-two with Michail Antonio, ran at the Watford defence and cut across Christian Kabasele before finishing into the bottom corner.
He also played a sublime pass which started the move for Lanzini’s goal, as well as finishing off the scoring with a typically well-executed penalty.
Noble has been underestimated by many on multiple occasions, but at 32-years-old, the veteran still has a couple of years at the top left in him.
There will be a lot of competition for places in the West Ham midfield this campaign, but while this means Noble won’t be starting every game, it doesn’t mean he won’t continue making a positive impact for the Hammers.