Soccer

Noble explains how Declan Rice injury affects West Ham’s Champions League hopes

Mark Noble says losing Declan Rice to injury is massive for West Ham – because he is one of the best players in the world.

But the Hammers skipper claims his side can achieve something special after their carried on their march for Europe with a win at Wolves without the England midfielder, who is out for four weeks with a knee problem.

Noble is demanding more from his team-mates against Leicester this weekend after key man Michail Antonio also suffered an injury at Molineux.

He said: “Mikey was a big loss for us after we lost Dec in the week, which was obviously a massive kick in the teeth for us.

“Not only is he one of the best players in the country at minute in his position, but probably in world football.

“I think he’s that good and we need to get him back as quickly as possible.

“We need to train this week like we have done and play a fantastic Leicester side because they are a really good team.

“We played well against them away this season and we need to play the same like that again and take our form to them.”

With West Ham fourth, Noble, who confirmed last month that next season will be his last as a Hammers player, insists he has never been easier to live with.

He said: “My Dad says to me ‘I’ve never seen you so happy!’. It’s nice, it’s enjoyable.

“But I think we’re at the stage now with single-figure games left and we need to keep pushing and see where we can come.

“Every game for us now is a bonus. We’ve done a fantastic job and let’s hope we can create something special.

“I think it’s got a bit of everything, this team. If I’m being picky about it, I’d have liked us to play better. But that’s just me because I want the team to get better again.”

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