West Ham's Noble aiming for England cap

ff-apr16-noble.jpgWest Ham star Mark Noble believes staying at West Ham will help him achieve his ambition of a full England cap.

The 21-year-old midfielder signed a new contract last week, keeping him at Upton Park until 2013, and he feels it will help him make the step up to Fabio Capello's squad.

Speaking exclusively to The Wharf he said: "That's every young English player's dream, to play for the full national team. I'll keep working hard, keep playing my football for West Ham and hopefully get there one day."

Noble, who has 15 under-21 caps, takes heart from team-mate Carlton Cole, who was called up by Capello earlier this year. He feels it reflects well on the club's growing stature under Gianfranco Zola.

He said: "Definitely. With the manager having been such a high profile player and the Italian side of it, you get quite a lot of exposure. It's nice for the players like Coley. I'm buzzing for them and hopefully it'll be me sooner rather than later."

Noble believes he has found his best form, just in time for the Premier League run-in, and he's pleased to play his part as the Hammers play Zola's entertaining brand of football.

"You can see with the players how happy they are in the way we are playing at the minute," he said. "The goal at Wigan - a one touch, six passes move - just sums up the way he wants us to play. What he's done for Carlton Cole and players like that who were low on confidence, he's been fantastic for them.

"Obviously we're not going to be unbelievable every game. We're going to have ups and downs, like the West Brom game when we were nowhere near our best. People have to understand we had a lot of injuries, so the way we've gone about our stuff, with quite a few problems, has been fantastic.

"It's really good at the minute and we've just got to carry on doing what we're doing and get into that European spot."

Noble has made over 100 appearances for West Ham. He admitted he finds it strange being the club's longest-serving player at just 21.

He said: "Sometimes it's a little bit strange when you see the likes of Rob Green, Matty Upson and Scott Parker but it's a good thing. It shows I've got into the team at a young age and not petered out. I've stuck by it and it's just the start of things to come."

And he is delighted to be part of an English core pushing the club forward.

He said: "We've got some fantastic players and English players as well, which is important. You need that drive and spirit of English football. It's nice to be at the club at the minute. We're looking up and hopefully we can get into that European place."

Also signing new contracts at West Ham were defenders James Tomkins and Herita Ilunga, who both pledged their futures to the Hammers until 2013.

Herita Ilunga125.jpgIlunga, who has been on loan from French side Toulouse since last summer, signed his contract as far back as January but the news has only been made public today.

The 27-year-old Congolese left-back has been a revelation in his first season in the Premier League and Gianfranco Zola was keen to bring him in permanently.

Negotiations with skipper Lucas Neill are ongoing but the Australian is expected to put pen to paper on a new deal soon.