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Noble determined to lead West Ham's Europa League charge

PUBLISHED: 17:41 25 March 2009 | UPDATED: 14:13 05 October 2010

Mark Noble insists he is back to his best and ready to lead West Ham into Europe

By JONATHAN CLEGG

Mark Noble insists he is back to his best and ready to lead West Ham into Europe after celebrating a century of appearances with a stunning goal last weekend.

Noble has struggled to regain top form since returning from a calf injury in December and had been hauled off in six of his previous nine matches ahead of the trip to Ewood Park.

But the England Under-21 ace completed the full 90 minutes at Ewood Park, marking his 100th appearance for West Ham with the club's opening goal and hinting at a timely return to form.

Now the homegrown midfielder hopes to provide a storming end to the season as the Hammers chase seventh spot in the Premier League and European qualification next season.

He said: "I felt really comfortable [at Blackburn] and I was back to playing as I know I can play.

"I did have a little dip in form - I don't know what the reason was, but I wasn't worried about it because I've got a lot of belief in my ability. I just stuck with it, kept working hard for the team and the hard work really paid off on Saturday

"Hopefully I am slowly beginning to pick up my form again and I will be able to go strong for the rest of the season."

With Savio Nsereko and Jack Collison due to return to fitness in the coming weeks and Kieron Dyer back in action following a successful cameo at Ewood Park, Noble will face competition to keep his place in midfield during the final months of the season.

But the boyhood Hammers fan admits he is willing to play in any position as the club bid to secure a Europa League berth under manager Gianfranco Zola.

He said: "With all the injuries we've had, you have to play a few different roles, but when you've got the respect for a manager like Zola, you don't mind where you play for him.

"He treats you the right way and that's why I'm happy to [play anywhere].

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