West Ham United star Mark Noble has responded emphatically to comments Troy Deeney made about him recently.
For many West Ham fans, the fact homegrown Hammers hero and captain Noble was never capped for England is a sore subject.
Many West Ham supporters cited it as proof, if it were needed, of a bias over the years towards players playing for so-called big clubs rather than playing consistently well and week in, week out for one of the “other 14”.
In a recent interview with The Athletic, former West Ham boss Slaven Bilic revealed Noble was on the brink of the England call that eluded him his entire career back in 2016.
According to Bilic, Roy Hodgson came close to selecting him for the Euro 2016 squad but opted instead for shock title winner Danny Drinkwater.
The rest, as they say, is history.
Now Noble is winding down on his career with retirement looming at the end of his 18th and last season playing for West Ham.
Former Watford captain and burgeoning pundit Troy Deeney forged a close relationship with Noble after the pair worked closely together during discussions with the Premier League during the Covid pandemic.
Last season Deeney, who now plays for his boyhood club Birmingham, declared that the West Ham man is a dying breed and should be honoured by rival Premier clubs with a guard of honour at every ground (The Sun).
Just like that England call-up, though, it hasn’t happened.
Deeney has been outspoken on Noble saying he should have played for England.
And now West Ham star Noble has responded emphatically to the comments Deeney made about him.
Speaking in a pre-match press conference before West Ham’s Europa League semi-final against Eintracht Frankfurt, Noble responded saying he was grateful for Deeney’s comments but insists he is more than happy with his lot.
“The captains during COVID, everything we did, pulling together and earning money for charity, that was fantastic, and Troy was one of them,” Noble said in the press conference (whufc.com).
“I said on Rio Ferdinand’s podcast recently: ‘am I gutted I never had an England cap?’ Of course.
“But the way I look at it is that I’ve had a fantastic career I’ve had playing for the Club I supported as a kid, which every single West Ham fan would want and I was lucky enough to do that, but there are players who had England caps who have not had the career I’ve had in the Premier League, so what I will say is I don’t regret it one bit.
“I’ve been lucky enough to live a dream of mine to captain and play for this Football Club.”
Having captained England at Under 21 level it is a mystery why Noble did not receive at least one call-up given the consistency of his performances over the years.
And especially in that 2015-16 season where the West Ham captain registered more goals than Raheem Sterling (six), James Milner (five), Adam Lallana (four) and Jack Wilshere (zero).
It was not meant to be for Noble, though.
Nobes has always remained somewhat philosophical about the England situation, though.
And as ever Mr West Ham has handled the situation in exemplary fashion.