LONDON (Reuters) - West Ham United manager David Moyes says players like Mark Noble are a rarity in the modern game as the club skipper prepares for what could be his 500th appearance on Friday.
Noble has spent his whole career with his local club and will reach that landmark if he plays against Watford in a game that could all but secure West Ham’s top-flight status.
“It’s harder to be at a club for that length of time nowadays,” Moyes told a news conference on Thursday.
“He’s showed a great level of commitment to this club. He’s captain, a really important player for us, and I think West Ham should consider themselves lucky to have a really good player and a really good man at the club.”
Noble made his debut in 2004 as a 17-year-old and remains a key figure in the West Ham midfield.
“To get 500 games for any club, you have to give him great credit. He’s been a one-club man and served the club incredibly well, still leading the group and playing very well.
“We’ve had some great players here like that — Billy Bonds and Bobby Moore, Trevor Brooking.”
West Ham and Watford are both three points above 18th-placed Bournemouth who only have two games remaining, although Aston Villa could move to within a point of them if they claimed a victory against Everton later on Thursday.
Moyes’s team have enjoyed an upturn in form since the resumption of the Premier League, beating Chelsea and Norwich City and drawing at Newcastle United.
“We’ve got our noses slightly in front, and we have to try and stay out in front,” Moyes, back for his second stint as manager having replaced Manuel Pellegrini in December, said.
“We have to do everything we can to stay in our position. We’ve not done the job yet — far from it — and the players are aware of that. We have to at least win another game, so the most important thing is to try and win the next game and see where that takes you.”
Reporting by Martyn Herman; Editing by Toby Davis