Mark Noble says he is “not fussed” by the criticism that has led to him being given time off by West Ham boss Slaven Bilic in a bid to rediscover his best form.
Hammers skipper Noble has been the subject of some stinging rebukes following a couple of under-par performances, especially in the two most recent defeats, at home to Chelsea then at Bournemouth.
Now Noble will sit out the home Premier League game against Leicester tomorrow, citing an injury – and he has spoken to the club’s website to expand on his thoughts on the boo-boys.
He said he wanted to clarify comments he made in an interview when asked about the criticism and wanted to make it clear that he “wasn’t digging out West Ham United fans in general, because I can assure you if I wasn’t playing I’d be sitting with them”.
He added: “I was born a West Ham supporter, I bought tickets when I was a kid, I started in the academy when I was eleven, I went to all the home games, I was lucky enough to get into the first team and then live my dream by captaining my club. As captain and a lifelong fan, I am the first to admit that we have not reached the same standards that we did so often last season.
“When it comes to the criticism, I want to say we have an incredible fan base – proper people who love their club – but there is a small minority who just want to criticise the players and the manager out at the first opportunity.
“We are going to lose games. Players will have bad games. That’s for sure. But that doesn’t mean we are not giving 100 per cent for the club. As much as we try to ignore the comments made on social media, sometimes they are unavoidable and while I’m not fussed about whether I get stick or not, some players are affected by it.”
Noble went on to say that social media makes a difference to how fans react to results and that “instead of walking out of the ground and having a moan to your mate or your Dad, some people leap straight on social media and troll the player directly”.
He added: “You have a right to moan, of course, but negativity spreads and it can affect everyone, especially younger players who have not developed a thick skin like us more experienced ones. What I am saying is that we need to be positive, inside the dressing room, in the stands and on social media.”
Noble says he plays under a manager who gives 100 per cent every day, and when the players are not doing likewise, he says he will be the first person in the dressing room to go around and tell them to “pull their socks up”.