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It goes with the territory in some respects that Mark Noble was something of a scapegoat for West Ham United’s season opening defeat to Liverpool.

In truth the only players to emerge from Anfield with any credit were Lukasz Fabianski, Felipe Anderson and Andriy Yarmolenko.

There is no hiding place for Noble this season, though.

Appointing Manuel Pellegrini was an ambitious move by West Ham.

And backing him with £100 million of signings was unprecedented.

Pellegrini has already refused to offer the homegrown Hammers skipper any assurances over a starting berth (Football London).

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Pellegrini’s first big West Ham dilemma

So it did not help Noble’s cause that he was brutally exposed by Liverpool.

Some will argue the performance of his teammates didn’t help nor his manager’s much-criticised tactics.

But with new signing Carlos Sanchez and Pedro Obiang lying in wait Noble needs to shine more than ever before to impress his ninth Hammers manager.

Dropping Noble would present Pellegrini with his first major dilemma as Hammers boss, though.

Just who would replace him as captain?

Winston Reid would be the natural successor but he is out for another two months.

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Who are the candidates?

So who are the other candidates?

Declan Rice is seen as a future West Ham captain.

But it is far too soon to thrust such responsibility on his young shoulders.

Like Noble, Jack Wilshere is a Hammers fan and knows what it means to play for the shirt.

But having only just signed his focus will be on establishing himself and staying fit.

Angelo Ogbonna is one of the club’s most experienced players and the most vocal.

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Arnie, Oggie, Jack Hammer?

He would be as close as you can get to a guaranteed starter for West Ham too.

Someone else who could come into the reckoning is the main man Marko Arnautovic.

The Austrian has shown a level of maturity befitting a captain since he reignited his Hammers career under David Moyes last season.

He too is a guaranteed starter and a big personality on and off the pitch.

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