Mark Noble has given a frank assessment of West Ham’s fortunes, stating his belief that the Hammers shouldn’t be reliant on him at his age after they were knocked out of the FA Cup by West Brom on Saturday.
The Premier League outfit produced a toothless display at the London Stadium, as Conor Townsend’s rasping early strike ensured Slaven Bilic’s return to east London was a triumphant one.
The Hammers skipper cut a frustrated figure at the full-time whistle, slamming his beloved side’s performance as they crashed out in the fourth round to Championship opposition.
Noble revealed the plan was to rest him for the clash, however after a dismal first-half showing David Moyes brought on the midfielder to replace Carlos Sanchez.
Speaking exclusively to talkSPORT, he said: “I’m 33 in May. I’ve been doing this for 15/16 years of my life. It’s half my life.
“At a club at this level with the money we’ve spent, you can’t rely on me. You can’t rely on me to come on at half-time during an FA Cup game – that shouldn’t be like that.
“The manager knew I had played three games in a week, and we’ve got two big games at home.
“I spoke to him yesterday and he said he would be putting me on the bench today to save my legs.”
He continued: “When his team performs like that then what can you do? Listen I’ve just said to the players in there that we’ve got to look at ourselves in the mirror – it’s no-one else’s fault.
“We’ve changed managers, we cant’t use that excuse.
“We’ve got to say to ourselves did I work hard enough today? Was I good enough? And the answer for me was no.”
West Ham were unable to break down a resilient Baggies side, who had to see out the remaining 18 minutes with 10 men after Semi Ajayi saw red.
Noble wasted the best of a host of late chances, blazing over the bar from 10 yards out with the clock ticking down.
The 32-year-old, who made his West Ham debut all the way back in August 2004, also says he is ‘worried’ about the club’s future and planned to enjoy the latter stages of his career – something he’s been unable to do so far.
“I constantly worry about the club. I’m turning 33 soon and that’s where you’re at the age where you want to enjoy the last few years of your career,” he explained.
“But when you’re fighting relegation battles, then trust me it isn’t enjoyable.”
It doesn’t get any easier for Moyes’ men, who entertain Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool – currently unbeaten in their last 40 Premier League games – on Wednesday night.