By George Overhill

18th May, 2022 | 7:40pm

West Ham United teammate Chris Powell shares touching early story about young Mark Noble

Former West Ham teammate Chris Powell has shared a touching story about his advice to a teenage Mark Noble ahead of the captain’s retirement.

The England coach was a Hammer between 2004 and 2005 when the outgoing Hammers legend made his debut, and helped encourage the youngster with a lesson that stuck with him through his career.

Midfielder Noble is retiring after the final game of the season on Sunday (22 May), after what would be his 550th appearance in an Irons shirt if he features.

Powell told the Evening Standard: “Very early on in my time, we played Derby at home and [Alan] Pardew named the team and Nobes wasn’t in it.

“He was really disappointed, you could see all over his face, his body language. I went over to him and slipped him a bit of paper and on it I just put: ‘Always be ready’.

“He came on after five minutes because someone got injured and he was outstanding. Afterwards we looked at each other and I just said: ‘That’s the game, that.’ He kept that note in his wash bag for about eight or nine years, I think, until it disintegrated!”

Passing the torch

Strange as it is to think of now that the outgoing veteran has been around for so long, and been a senior figure in the squad for so long, but he was once a kid trying to break into his boyhood team.

This insight is the kind of view into the dressing room that fans love to hear about, as it reminds people of how the stars they love watching at ultimately normal people who need reassurance along the way too.

Noble, while roundly noted for his maturity beyond his years from a young age, will surely have benefitted from the lesson his elder statesman teammate gave him way back in his first year.

It is a testament to the affect it had on him that he kept hold of the note until it fell apart.

While teams of players often come across as a united front to the outside unless there is some specific turmoil within, it is always interesting to note the individual connections between players within.

And while Powell was only at Upton Park for a brief time, the unlikely influences that certain players who might otherwise drift from certain fan-base’s memories, can ultimately play a major role in the future prospects of a club.

Noble had the demeanour and the quality to make a success of himself either way, so it’s not to suggest he wouldn’t have made it without the note from Powell.

But it clearly had an impact on him, and if it helped the long-time skipper become the figure in east London that he became, fans will have plenty to be thankful to the senior player for.

In other West Ham news, the club are interested in a young talent from a famous family who is extremely highly sought after.

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