Mark Noble: even West Ham winning Europa League will not stop me from retiring

Hammers face Eintracht Frankfurt in semi-final first leg at London Stadium on Thursday

Club captain Mark Noble has made 564 appearances for West Ham. Getty
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West Ham veteran Mark Noble has insisted that even if the club win the Europa League, he will not be reversing his decision to retire at the end of the season.

The Hammers take on German side Eintracht Frankfurt in their semi-final first leg at the London Stadium on Thursday.

Noble, 34, has made 564 appearances for the club and admits it “would be a dream come true” to finally lift a major trophy for his beloved Clarets.

But even if West Ham beat Frankfurt over two legs and are then victorious in the final, being held at Seville's Ramon Sanchez-Pizjuan Stadium on May 18, there will be no U-turn on his retirement plans.

“I’ve been asked this question so many times by so many people,” the club captain said. “The reason we would get into the Champions League is by winning the Europa League.

“Winning the Europa League and lifting the trophy, would I come back? No. And that’s my honest answer. To end on that would be pretty special.

“I was joking with the lads the other day, saying if that did happen, I’d happily come watch the Champions League games with the Europa League trophy on the next chair. But that is way down the line.

“This season for me, after announcing that this would be my last, has been special. It’s not over yet.

“We’ve got an incredible game here and probably a bigger game in a week’s time. To be able to enjoy that with the West Ham fans, with the players and staff, is an incredible achievement.”

Frankfurt are currently ninth in the Bundesliga but arrive in London on the back of knocking out mighty Barcelona in the quarter-finals.

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“I wouldn’t be disrespectful to a club like Frankfurt, they are fantastic, and you don’t reach this position without being a good side,” Noble added. “It’s going to be tough, but I believe we can win.

“It’s a group of players with no egos who work for each other and a manager who doesn’t let anything slide.

“If we play how we know we can play – with resilience, attacking play and defending as a team – I think we can win.”

And manager David Moyes says his team have shown they have what it takes to win big matches at the London Stadium.

“In the main, our home form has been pretty good,” he said. “Beating Tottenham, Liverpool and Chelsea shows that on our home patch on our day, we can be a good match for any team.

“To beat Barcelona over two games was an incredible achievement and it shows their qualities.

“They’re a big name in German football with incredible support. But we’ve got a really big stadium and a fantastic crowd. It’s really special that two teams with a history are back together.”

Updated: April 27, 2022, 3:40 PM
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