By Michael Brown

28th Dec, 2020 | 10:15am

Exclusive: Top pundit destroys West Ham big name, reported bid tabled for replacement

West Ham United were better when Mark Noble left the field in their 2-2 draw with Brighton on Sunday evening. 

So says ex-Manchester City, Spurs and Leeds midfielder Michael Brown, speaking exclusively to Football Insider correspondent Dylan Childs about the veteran midfielder’s role in the team.

He made his comments after West Ham overhauled a two-goal deficit to salvage a draw against 16th place Brighton, with both goals coming after Mark Noble had been hooked at half-time.

Noble’s inclusion in the starting XI came as a surprise given his much-derided role in West Ham’s defeat at Chelsea last Monday, which commentators said stifled any creativity in the Hammers midfield.

Brown maintains that West Ham have been good this season – and that one-club man Noble has played his part in that – but that the midfielder was a hindrance rather than a help in the draw on Sunday.

He told Football Insider: “Poor first half, good second half. Mark Noble came off at half-time, he’ll be questioned whether he was too negative.

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“It was a great turnaround. They were disappointing in their first-half but they came back, they stuck in there.

“You look at Mark Noble, he comes on and they’re winning other games. He’s in and around it. His experience is there. I think West Ham will take positives from that.”

If Calciomercato, an authority on Italian transfer market activity, are to be believed, Noble could slide further down the pecking order if West Ham are successful in their pursuit of Inter Milan central midfielder Matias Vecino.

It is said that the Londoners have already tabled an offer for the Uruguay international signed by Inter for £21.5million in 2017.

The draw was only Noble’s third start this season, with Tomas Soucek and Declan Rice generally prefered in West Ham’s go-to 4-2-3-1 formation.

In other news, a Scottish Premiership expert is certain West Ham United will be unsuccessful in their bid to sign Rangers left-back.