Darren Bent defended Manuel Pellegrini’s decision to bench West Ham midfielder Mark Noble at half-time during the 3-2 loss to Newcastle United on Saturday.
Speaking exclusively to Football Insider correspondent Laura O’Leary, the former Tottenham and Aston Villa forward admitted that Noble may have been left fuming over being subbed off, but suggested it was the right decision.
The 32-year-old was replaced by attacker Albian Ajeti at half-time with Pellegrini also opting to bring Andriy Yarmolenko off after just 45 minutes in favour of Manuel Lanzini being added to the game.
Noble has played nine times in the Premier League this season, contributing one goal in the process, and Bent revealed he didn’t think the Hammers captain was the right man to have on the pitch with his side aiming to come back from two-goals behind.
When asked if Noble would have fumed over being subbed at half-time, Bent told Football Insider: “Yeah but sometimes it’s difficult because the last thing you need…Noble has been a great servant to West Ham.
“But sometimes in that type of game when you get pumped and are losing as heavily as you are, you don’t need a midfielder who is keeping it tight and doesn’t really carry a goal threat.
“It is a difficult one as you’re right, you’re probably thinking that he knows how to get the best out of the team as he’s been there for that long, but when you’ve got Declan Rice in there already, who can do the same job he is doing, which is winning it at the back and playing it out, he’s not really serving a purpose.
“If you look at the three other players in there with him, they can all create, then you’ve got Rice and Noble…when you’re 2-0 down you don’t need that, you only need one of them, you need to get another creative midfielder on.”
Noble has played 477 times for the London club after rising through the Hammers’ youth system to become a staple of the first-team.
The 32-year-old is contracted to stay at the London Stadium until 2021 after signing a contract extension in September 2018 but he could end up staying longer than his current deal as The Sun previously reported the club were set to look at his contract situation.