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West Ham United captain Mark Noble praises Chelsea’s belief in youth



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West Ham United host Chelsea tonight and will hope to pick up all three points in order to boost their survival chances.

The Hammers are 17th in the Premier League table, with only goal difference separating them from Bournemouth and Aston Villa.

Getting a result tonight will go a long way, and even a draw will be seen as a good result given the quality of the Blues.

Frank Lampard’s side are looking to finish in top-four, and they will fancy their chances with only a point between them and third-placed Leicester City.

Chelsea boast of a very young squad, but that hasn’t stopped them from impressing, and West Ham skipper Mark Noble is hoping his side can emulate them going forward.

“One team who have benefited from picking their young players are our opponents tonight, Chelsea. I spoke to Frank Lampard a month ago and the club’s hierarchy must be delighted, because he’s saved them millions by picking those youngsters,” the Hammers midfielder told Standard Sport.

“You look at Tammy Abraham, Mason Mount, Reece James, Billy Gilmour, Fikayo Tomori, Ruben Loftus-Cheek, Callum Hudson-Odoi. Some of those got their chance before Frank came in, but others have eagerly grabbed the opportunity afforded them this season due to the club’s transfer embargo.

“A lot of those young players, having proved their quality, are worth a fortune already and Frank has done a great job. It proves that, if you’re young and good enough, you will get your chance and maybe other clubs will look at what is happening at Chelsea and think they should be doing something similar.”

A group of youngsters performing extremely well under a young manager isn’t a common sight in the English top-flight.

Chelsea have bolstered their squad by recruiting Hakim Ziyech, 27, and Timo Werner, 24 for a combined £85 million ahead of next season, and while West Ham don’t have such financial strength, they should embrace handing their academy graduates regular first-team chances.

The Hammers lost Jeremy Ngakia yesterday after he refused a £5,000-a-week deal but could have prevented it as they were told to move quickly and tie him down to a long-term contract towards the end of last year.

Rumours had emerged at the time that he could look to move on unless he was offered a professional deal, but West Ham were willing to wait till he made his first-team debut and that decision proved very costly in the end.