When West Ham United skipper Mark Noble steps out at the London Stadium against Huddersfield on Saturday it will be his 401st league match for his boyhood club.

By modern standards it is a rarity. Throw in the fact the game – for central midfielders in particular – has changed so dramatically and it is nothing short of miraculous.

Never blessed with pace or great athleticism Noble has had to strain every sinew to stay at the top level with West Ham.

Photo by Arfa Griffiths West Ham United via Getty Images

A Noble career of ups and down

Under Manuel Pellegrini his time on the pitch will slowly fade. But his importance to the Chilean in and around the club was highlighted when Noble was handed a contract extension over Christmas.

It has been a career of ups and downs and no shortage of emotional twists and turns.

This season could end on a rare high. If West Ham beat Huddersfield they will go just two points off Wolves in seventh place and a potential Europa League spot.

Anyone with even a passing interest in West Ham knows the Noble story. The Canning Town lad who dreamt of playing for the Hammers as a kid and used to walk to and from games at Upton Park when he first broke into the team.

Photo by Arfa Griffiths West Ham United via Getty Images

10 players who had the biggest influence on skipper

But what about the players who have helped shape his West Ham career?

 

In his latest candid Evening Standard column Noble listed the 10 players that – for very different reasons – have had the biggest influence on him so far.

“I would definitely say we now have the strongest squad since my debut, but I’ve played alongside some really outstanding players,” Noble wrote in the Evening Standard.

“When I made my debut, Teddy Sheringham was at the club and he was so precise with his passing, he almost caressed the ball to you. Carlos (Tevez) was another top player, as was Scott Parker, in my position in midfield, and I wish him all the best at Fulham.

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From Yossi to Carlton these are the special ones

“Yossi Benayoun was such a talented player; Craig Bellamy wanted to win so much that perhaps he sometimes said things he later regretted. Meanwhile Dimitri Payet and Manuel Lanzini are right up there, as is Marko Arnautovic.

“As a young player, I watched Joe Cole, wishing I could be like him and later he was my team-mate. I’ve also played with some real characters. The funniest team-mate has to be Carlton Cole. He’s a one-off and I’m really glad he’s at the club and helping out with the youth team.”

A fascinating insight from the skipper. Let’s hope there are many more memories to be made under Pellegrini.