‘If we keep on the way we’re going, we’re going to win the league – and that ain’t going to happen!’

first_imgYou’re still only 27…“Yeah, and the two boys up front are young boys as well. So we have to hold on to our best players, the likes of Reidy [Winston Reid] and James Tompkins. So, together, we still have a few years left in us and we can hopefully move there with a strong squad.”What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given in your career?“One was from [former England left-back] Chris Powell, when I played as a young kid with him. I’d just come into the team, I’d just turned 17 and I was playing really well, and [Alan] Pardew dropped me for a game. I was devastated, but he’d done it for my own good. And Chris Powell wrote me a little Post-it Note saying: ‘Mark, always be ready.’ I had it in my soap bag for years. And that game that I was dropped for, I came on after 15 minutes and got man of the match. So I never forget that one. The other one was from Teddy Sheringham, when I was a kid. He said: ‘Whenever it’s going well, Mark, really enjoy it. Because there are not many seasons as a Premier League player that it goes that well.’ And I’ve tried to do that.” 5 Mark Noble 5 5 5 What’s made the biggest difference this year?“Goals. I’ve always said this: you sign good players, you sign players who are hungry and want to play, and we’re getting the benefit of that. The likes of [Diafra] Sakho and Enner [Valencia], Alex [Song], Cheikhou [Kouyate], Jenko [Carl Jenkinson] at right-back. We’ve signed top players this window.”Do you feel like you have played teams at the right time this season, with Liverpool and Manchester City perhaps having one eye on the Champions League, for example?“No – not at all. You’ve still got to beat the teams in front of you, and you have a look at the side we played when we played Liverpool – it was probably their best team. I can’t think of any [top] players that didn’t play. They had Steven Gerrard, Mario Balotelli, Raheem Sterling, Jordan Henderson. They still had top players out there and you can only beat what’s put in front of you. Obviously City have a massive squad with all their millions. And they still had David Silva, Yaya Toure, [Sergio] Aguero. Top players. And [Edin] Dzeko up front as well. I’d be disrespecting our team and the boys here to say otherwise.”Tell us about Alex Song. What’s it like playing alongside him in the midfield?“He didn’t have much football at Barcelona, but what’s nice about Alex is he’s come here level-headed from probably the best team in the world. And I think you can see on a Saturday that we’re enjoying playing together, and he’s enjoying playing in the Premier League again. And we’re getting the best out of him. I know he’s on a season-long loan, but I think he’s happy in London; I know he has all his family here and I think he loves it here at the club, so hopefully we can do something at the end of the season.” This feature appears in the current edition of Sport magazine. Download the free iPad app from the Apple Newsstand, and follow on twitter @sportmagukAfter West Ham’s tenth game of last season – a goalless draw with Aston Villa – they sat 14th in the league with just eight goals scored. This Saturday, with ten games of the campaign played, the Hammers face the same opposition but now sit level on points with fourth-placed Arsenal, having notched 19 goals so far. Sport asked claret and blue captain Mark Noble what’s changed in east London…After the Manchester City win a fortnight ago you said the team is “full of belief”. Can you keep this run going?“I think we can. We need to keep players fit. But we will obviously have setbacks now and then. If we keep on the way we’re going, we’re going to win the league, and that ain’t going to happen. But we’re a good team at the minute, and we’re enjoying the wave we’re on.”You must feel like you can beat anyone?“That’s what I mean by belief – we had belief that we were going to go into the game against City and get a result. And that’s the most important thing when you go on to a pitch: if you believe you are going to win, and you’re going to score goals, it’s a massive factor. At the minute we have two strikers scoring goals; we have a lot of players confident, at the top of their game.” Is the way West Ham are playing now a vindication of the club having stuck by him when results weren’t going your way?“We had a lot of injuries last year. In my player of the year speech at the end of last season, I said that we were in the same position as other teams and there were managers getting sacked around us. The likes of Norwich, and they went down; Cardiff City, and they went down. We had a lot of setbacks, injuries, and we still managed to come 13th. And that’s a tribute to the boss.”Looking ahead, to the club’s move to the Olympic Stadium, can you picture leading the team out in Stratford?“Obviously I’ve thought about it. We’ve done so much with Karren Brady and the chairmen over there to promote it. It does look fantastic, and I’m pretty sure the lads with contracts long enough are really keen to get over there. It’s going to be one of the best stadiums in Europe, and for a team like West Ham to be playing there, it will be an absolute pleasure.”What are the club’s long-term ambitions, given that West Ham do not have the same backing as, for example, Manchester City?“I think the chairmen have made it clear: we want to be a top-eight club by the time we move there. Obviously, right at the minute, we are there. But there are still a few seasons to go [the club plan to move in for the beginning of the 2016-17 campaign], and the important thing is where you finish. It’s going well at the minute. We’ve signed young players – as I said – in Cresswell, Jenkinson, and even Alex is still quite young [Song turned 27 in September].” Song has to be up for your Hammer of the Year title on his performances so far?“[Laughs] Yeah, after winning two in three years it’s obviously nice, but the way the boys have come in this year – Sakho scoring seven in seven, Enner, even the likes of Stewie Downing, [Aaron] Cresswell. They’re all playing so well. So I think there will be a long list of player of the year [contenders] this year.”What impact has Teddy Sheringham made as attacking coach?“Just having someone of that calibre around the place; the forwards are listening to him because they’ve seen him do it on TV. So what he’s asking them to do, he can do himself. He just lets the forwards know: little movements, little finishes, where to be at the right time. And, as you can see, it’s made a big impact on the squad.”Describe Big Sam Allardyce in three words…“Big [laughs]. Honest and… stoic.” 5last_img read more

British sprinter banned after failing drug test

first_img0Shares0000Britain’s Nigel Levine in action in the 4x400m relay at the 2016 Olympics in Rio © AFP/File / PEDRO UGARTELONDON, United Kingdom, Nov 20 – British sprinter Nigel Levine has been suspended from all sport for four years after testing positive for banned drug clenbuterol, UK Anti-Doping announced on Tuesday.Levine failed a drugs test on November 24 last year and it emerged in February that he had been provisionally suspended. Announcing the four-year ban on Tuesday, UKAD said the 29-year-old’s ban will be backdated to December 13, 2017 and run until December 12, 2021.Levine was part of Britain’s 4×400 metre relay team that competed at the 2016 Rio Olympics and is a European indoor and outdoor gold medallist in the event as well as a three-time world indoor medallist.He failed the test having only just returned to training after being involved in a serious motorbike accident with British sprinter James Ellington in January 2017.Clenbuterol is an anabolic agent prohibited at all times under global anti-doping rules.“All athletes must adhere to the principle of strict liability, and are solely responsible for any substances found in their system,” said UKAD chief executive Nicole Sapstead.“Mr Levine is an elite athlete, who has competed at the Olympic Games, European and World Championships, and has received significant anti-doping education throughout his career.“It is up to role models such as Mr Levine to uphold the highest standards when it comes to anti-doping, ensuring they check all supplements thoroughly and are 100 percent certain they know that what they are consuming is not prohibited.”0Shares0000(Visited 1 times, 1 visits today)last_img read more