Mark Noble aiming for good start with West Ham
West Ham midfielder Mark Noble is aiming to start the new Premier League season with a bang as he hopes to push his claims for a spot in Fabio Capello's England squad.
Noble has 20 under-21 caps but has yet to make the senior squad. With Capello now pinning his faith in the younger generation, Noble, 23, wants to break into the set-up.
He said: "It's every English players dream to be selected for the national team. As much as England didn't do too well at the World Cup, we still had some of the best players in the world there. It's going to be a tough one for the manager but I'll keep plugging away and try and play my best football here and hope it gets noticed.
"I'm really pleased with my form. I didn't want last season to end, because I'd come into my own playing in the position I wanted to play in and started to really play my best football. I just want to carry that on into this season."
West Ham have been unbeaten in pre-season, but Noble knows that counts for nothing against Aston Villa this Saturday. He feels new manager Avram Grant has had a positive influence on the team.
He said: "It doesn't mean anything but we go into the season with a little bit of confidence, and I'm looking forward to getting the season kicked off.
"Hopefully we go into the game against Villa with the same attitude. We haven't conceded many goals during pre-season, and we'll have to do that against Villa because we know what a good attacking side they are. We're looking forward to the challenge.
"It's obviously different compared to under Gianfranco Zola. It seems to be going well. We're looking forward to it, but you can't tell until you get into the games and a little bit of pressure's involved. Then you see the true colours."
Noble played a holding role in the first half of last Saturday's friendly against Deportivo La Coruna, but his versatility might see him moved around the midfield over the season.
He said: "I enjoy playing that role, getting on the ball. I don't know if it goes with me or against me, but I can play anywhere in midfield. I'm used to being moved about, and I changed position in the second half. But as long as I see the ball and keep involved in the game, I'm happy."
West Ham have to improve goalscoring from midfield, as Noble acknowledged.
He said: "I'm not going to set any targets. I've been working hard in pre-season on it, during training. If I play a deeper role, it's a little bit more difficult, but I want to concentrate on setting goals up. If I can chip in with a few myself it would be nice."