Declan Rice believes West Ham United should celebrate Mark Noble’s commitment to the club by retiring his number 16 shirt when he retires, speaking to Soccer AM.
Noble recently signed a contract extension that will keep him at the London Stadium for one last season.
2021/22 will be the 33-year-old’s final campaign in east London, ending almost two decades of blood, sweat and tears in claret and blue.
Perfect present for Noble
Soon he will have to pass on the captain’s armband permanently to Rice, who has been already been blooded as heir to his Iron throne.
Rice admitted he would miss Noble and feels West Ham should honour his services in a special way.
Rice said: “I love (Noble) to pieces. I’m gutted (he’s retiring). At least we’ll get one more season with him next year. Hopefully we’ll have all the fans back to give him a great send-off.
“West Ham without Mark Noble won’t feel the same. Hopefully there’s another Mark Noble brewing in the academy who can come through and do what he’s done.
“There has to be something for him – 100%. Retire the 16 shirt I reckon. It won’t feel the same seeing another name above the 16.”
Bobby Moore and Dylan Tombides
Shirt numbers change like the wind as players come and go – but not Noble’s.
The Englishman has worn 16 on his back since 2007 and it has become one of the most iconic jerseys in West Ham history.
The honour wouldn’t be the first time West Ham have retired a shirt number in their 125-year history.
The Hammers retired the number six shirt in homage to England World Cup-winning legend Bobby Moore.
Number 38 was also retired in respect to Dylan Tombides, who died of testicular cancer in 2014 aged only 20.
Noble would join an exclusive list of those immortalised by their clubs – Diego Maradona at Napoli, Javier Zanetti (Inter Milan), Roberto Baggio (Brescia) and Jude Bellingham (Birmingham City).
Who knows, Noble might get a statue dedicated to him too? An Iron cast in iron.
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