The post-Mark Noble era is beginning at West Ham but David Moyes keenly feels his absence.
“There is a big void,” the West Ham manager tells Sky Sports as he takes a break from the team’s pre-season preparations at the club’s east London training base.
“I can feel it now because he played such a big part, pulling the players together, doing lots of things and keeping them close. He was really important for us.” said David Moyes.
After 18 seasons as a pro at his boyhood club, Noble brought his playing career to an end last season. The captain signed off his final game at the London Stadium with a substitute appearance and an emotional speech in front of the West Ham fans after a 2-2 draw with Manchester City.
City, as it happens, are West Ham’s first opponents at home this coming season but the hosts will this time be led both on and off the pitch by 23-year-old Declan Rice.
Mentored by Noble, Rice is the natural successor. He wore the armband for much of last season when Noble, 35, was out of the side but he will now lead this team in his own right.
“I know I’m going to be captain of West Ham for this season and it’s an honour,” Rice told Sky Sports earlier in the day. “To take it from Nobes is special. It’s a dream. To be captain of any club in the world is an honour and to captain West Ham with the history behind the club is special.”