David Moyes: Declan Rice must step in to help fill ‘big void’ left by retired Mark Noble at West Ham | Soccer News
The post-Mark Noble era begins at West Ham but David Moyes feels his absence keenly.
“There is a big void,” says West Ham manager sky sports as he takes a break from the team’s pre-season preparations at the club’s training base in east London.
“I can feel it now because he played such a big role, bringing the players together, doing a lot and keeping them close. He was really important to us.”
After 18 seasons as a pro at his boyhood club, Noble ended his playing career last season. The captain signed off on his final game at the London Stadium with a substitute appearance and an emotional speech to West Ham fans after a 2-2 draw with Manchester City.
City, as it happens, are West Ham’s first home opponents this season, but the hosts will be led on and off the pitch this time around 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, but he will now lead this team in his own right.
“I know I’m going to captain West Ham this season and it’s an honour,” Rice said. sky sports early in the day. “Taking him from Nobes is special. It’s a dream. To captain any club in the world is an honor and to captain West Ham with the history behind the club is special.”
But he also bears a great responsibility.
“Now Dec needs to take it to another level, not only in the way he plays on the pitch, but also in his leadership off the pitch and dealing with a lot of other things that are going on,” Moyes says.
“He’s a young man still learning and maybe it was a bit easier for him to be captain last season knowing that Mark Noble was in the building and those two could get away with it. go out.
“But I hope we have surrounded him with Lukasz Fabianski and Aaron Cresswell, Angelo Ogbonna – people who have been at the club for a long time and who can help him with their experience.”
It’s a significant change to the club at a time in their development under Moyes, which could be key.
The Scots arrived with West Ham not where they wanted to be. They were looking over their shoulder at a relegation battle, while their supporters showed their displeasure with the club’s ownership and management.
In his two and a half years in charge, with steady progress, Moyes has had a transformative impact.
Having steered the side to survival after taking over midway through the 2019/20 season and finishing sixth in their second campaign, their previously maligned home at London Stadium was electrified by a side that pushed for a top four until the end of the campaign and reached the semi-finals of the Europa League.
“Well done, could do better,” is Moyes’ verdict on those efforts now. He comes with a wry smile. He is well aware of the perspective and context of the team’s achievements, but also believes there have been ‘missed opportunities’ to turn a good season into a great one.
“I wanted to finish higher, I was trying to push the players hard for that. In the end, when you look at how the season has gone, I don’t think I can complain too much. But I felt that we had missed opportunities and momentum, we tried to maintain it, but we just lost a bit in the end, maybe there were real reasons for that, but we have moved on now , we have moved forward and hopefully we can prepare for the new season.”
Having built a strong foundation, Moyes says the challenge now for West Ham is to keep moving forward – not backing down.
“Quite often moving means you can move forward quickly or you can drop out and then you have to wait to get back,” he said. “We are in a period at West Ham where we are at the moment.
“We’ve had a group of players who have been fantastic for us over the last two and a half years and they’ve taken us away from relegation issues to a tough team at the top.
“Yes, we also added one or two players to the trip, but now we are on the next part of the trip. We need to bring in more players to give us that opportunity to compete.
“You just have to look at purchases and how much teams can pay at the top to get the best players, whether it’s wages or transfer fees, which can make it much harder for other clubs to compete.”
West Ham have signed centre-back Nayef Aguerd for £30m from Rennes, £12m central midfielder Flynn Downes from Swansea and they have won a bid for £30.5m plus 5 million additional pounds for Sassuolo striker Gianluca Scamacca. An offer has also been made for left winger Filip Kostic from Eintracht Frankfurt.
There have also been changes to Moyes’ coaching staff, with the departure of Stuart Pearce and Mark Warburton making a surprise transition from his managerial career to an assistant role. “I remember Sir Alex Ferguson, when he took on Walter Smith as assistant manager at Man Utd,” Moyes said. “Walter Smith was an incredibly experienced manager and he quit to become Sir Alex’s assistant for a time.
“Mark will give me experience, he also has knowledge of the lower leagues. He’s a really good man and someone I know I can work with and who will go well with the other staff I have. have.”
The hope for Moyes is that these additions can be the incremental improvements the team needs to continue to progress in a season that will be unlike any other, given the World Cup break in November and december.
“That might be an advantage in some ways, but who knows how this year is going to work out,” Moyes said.
For now, his focus is on ensuring his players are prepared for the first half of the campaign and ready to return to the levels they reached last time out.
Noble may be gone, but West Ham fans returning to the London Stadium to watch their team play against Man City again in early August will expect a continuation of this team’s upward trend.
“I think they see a lot of improvement, an energetic squad, boys fighting for the shirt and playing the best they can to try and get results,” Moyes said. “We had some brilliant nights and I hope there are many more to come.”
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