Mark Noble tipped to start v Leeds United as pundit predicts early West Ham team news

We’re delighted to welcome former West Ham United striker Frank McAvennie as our exclusive columnist. Each week he’ll be giving his views on the biggest talking points at the London Stadium…

Frank McAvennie predicts Mark Noble to start for West Ham when they play Leeds United in the FA Cup at the London Stadium on Sunday.

Noble, 34, is in his final season as a player with his retirement already planned.

The Hammers’ club captain has played just 12 times in all competitions this season with David Moyes mainly calling upon his services in the Europa League and Carabao Cup.

With West Ham set to host Leeds in the FA Cup Third Round this weekend, McAvennie expects to see Noble start in the midfield ahead of Declan Rice, who started the last game in the 3-2 win over Crystal Palace.

“Last week, when Noble stepped in when Rice was suspended, he showed that he’s still there and that he’s still captain of the club,” McAvennie told West Ham Zone.

He’ll be happy to be getting game-time but he knows it’s a young guy’s game now, they can run circles around him.

He’s there but once he’s done, I think Noble will go into management or something.

I think he’ll stay at West Ham as a coach and learn a wee bit with the youngsters so he can pass on his knowledge to them. I don’t know if that’s going to happen but I’ve got no problem with him coming in for cup ties and all that.

Noble’s been outstanding when he comes on so I’ve got no fear of him starting against Leeds, he doesn’t weaken the team at all.

And that’s no disrespect to Rice because he’s been absolutely superb this season but Noble can’t play every game.

He’d be delighted to get a good game against Leeds.”

Noble has only played four times in the Premier League this season.

He made his first league start on 28 December when he scored in the win against Watford while Rice was suspended.

Rice returned to the side to play Palace but if McAvennie is right, the England international will be dropped and rested by Moyes with Noble replacing him.

In other West Ham news, an “extraordinary” offer could see the Irons bag this centre-back in January.

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