By Matt Farr
West Ham midfielder Mark Noble has admitted the club’s Premier League safety was the priority last season and not his own ongoing injury concerns.
The 30-year-old was a regular feature in the West Ham starting eleven throughout the 2016-17 campaign, making 35 appearances in all competitions as the club endured a rollercoaster campaign.
Slaven Bilic had led them to an impressive seventh-place finish a year earlier, but struggled to replicate such form last season, with West Ham limping out of a relegation battle in the second-half of the campaign to finish 11th.
They sealed their Premier League survival with a 1-0 win over Tottenham on May 5, but it was then revealed that long-serving asset and captain Noble had to undergo surgery.
The double hernia operation meant Noble was forced to miss the final two games of the season, however, the main concern was that the English midfielder had kept the injury a secret from the manager for four months.
But Noble believes that he had a duty to play through the pain so long as West Ham remained at risk of relegation.
He told Sky Sports News HQ: “I knew I had the hernias February time and me and the physios took it on ourselves not to say anything until the club was safe.
“It kept getting worse and worse and I went to see the surgeon before the Spurs game and he said ‘it’s urgent now, you need to have an operation.’
“Then we beat Spurs and were mathematically safe so it all worked out well.”
The Hammers were already plagued with injuries at the time of Noble’s setback, with the likes of Pedro Obiang, Angelo Ogbonna, Diafra Sakho and Michail Antonio already sidelined until the end of the campaign.
Therefore, the decision from Noble and the medical team kept Bilic with at least one more reliable option up his sleeve, even if it came at great risk to the player’s long-term fitness.
Noble has since returned to training as West Ham seek to begin their pre-season preparations for the new season
In other West Ham news, fans have reacted on Twitter as Havard Nordtveit quits the club.