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#PLStories- Declan Rice thinks “complete package” and West Ham legend Mark Noble should have started more games for England #WHUFC #WorldCup2022

Jack Grealish

Declan Rice claims former West Ham United captain Mark Noble “should have had at least ten” caps for England.

Noble retired from football on the final day of the 2021/22 season after making 550 appearances for West Ham during an 18-year career. Although highly regarded by Hammers supporters, Noble ended his career without a single England cap to his name.

The former Irons captain has spoken previously that he believes he should have been called up to the international team at some point during his career and his successor as West Ham skipper agrees. Ahead of the World Cup in Qatar, Rice told West Ham’s club website that Noble was one of the most intelligent players he has ever played with.

Declan Rice said: “As a captain that’s what you want. If there is one captain you could have it’s [Noble] because of the whole package. As well as that the player he is. I feel like he wasn’t given the credit he deserved. Players that have been called up for England over the years and had a cap, he 100 per cent should have had at least ten. I still put him down now as one of the best players I have played with just because of his intelligence. He wasn’t the fastest but technically he was so good. His whole impact on my life for the last five years has been special. I’m now obviously adult enough and on a level where we can go out and have a drink together and have a laugh. Before he used to look after me as a little kid but now we’re on that level where we are just really good friends. We’re really close and I’m really grateful for him.”

Rice is with the England squad in the Middle East as they embark on their quest for World Cup glory. The Three Lions’ campaign will kick off later today (Monday) against Iran in Group B, with clashes against USA and Wales to follow. Rice has become a familiar face in the England line-up since making his international debut in March 2019, with 34 caps to his name. He played a key part in the run towards the Euro 2020 final against Italy and is expected to play a similar role in Gareth Southgate’s squad in Qatar.

Declan Rice said: “And then, I think it was maybe 18 months later, I hadn’t seen much of him since then, and he came on pre-season with us to Germany or Austria, one of these countries. He was playing centre-half at the time and I remember the ball came back from the right-back and first time to me he slapped [the ball] into me. I sent it back and he had a touch and hit a diagonal with his left foot. I remember as I had seen the ball going, looking around thinking ‘that was top quality’ and I realised what a good player we had at the football club.”

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