Mark Noble hopes youth team can kick off triple success for West Ham

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Mark Noble is hoping West Ham’s youngsters can provide the first part of a triple celebration this season.

The Hammers’ under-18s take on Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium on Tuesday night in the FA Youth Cup final.

Their achievements have evoked memories of Joe Cole and Michael Carrick helping West Ham to the trophy back in 1999.

Noble, the Hammers’ former captain and now sporting director, also came through the ranks at the club and went on to make 550 appearances.

He takes a keen interest in the famed youth set-up, so much so that he spends more time at on the pitches at their Chadwell Heath training base than in his new office.

“People still remember when Joe Cole won it years and years ago,” said Noble.

“Joe’s my friend now but he was my hero at the time because he was breaking through in the first team and I was in the academy.

“But it gets remembered forever, that’s what things like that do.”

The Hammers have taken a big step towards avoiding relegation from the Premier League in recent weeks and have the chance to end the season with a first major trophy in 43 years after reaching the semi-finals of the Europa Conference League.

“It would be incredible if we go on to win the Conference League, if the boys win the Youth Cup, and obviously the main aim is for the first team to stay in the Premier League. If all works out, we’ll be celebrating,” added Noble.

Hammers skipper Declan Rice will be at the Emirates to support the next batch of young talent.

“Dec is one of the best players in the world, but still acts like a youth-team player,” said Noble.

“That’s the qualities of Dec. He’s as comfortable kicking about the ball in the gym with the under-15s as he is playing in a European final. That’s Dec for you. And he’ll be there on Tuesday night as well. Of course he will.”

Arsenal’s youngsters are managed by a familiar face, Noble’s former West Ham team-mate Jack Wilshere.

“Jack’s time at West Ham didn’t go the way we all wanted it to go but I can assure you that for the time he was here we had an incredible time together,” said Noble.

“It’s great, you love to see the boys you played with go on. You never know, one day he might become Arsenal’s manager.”

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