West Ham United skipper Mark Noble marked 15 years since he made his debut for the club during the 2-0 victory over Norwich City prior to the international break.
The 32-year-old has featured in 469 games across all competitions for the Hammers since making his bow in 2004, with 351 of them coming in the English Premier League.
Only the trio of Sylvain Distin, Kevin Nolan and Chris Perry, have played more Premier League matches than Noble without earning an international cap, and he has admitted he never dreamed of playing for England as a kid.
“Talking of international recognition, it was pointed out to me this week that only three players, Sylvain Distin, Kevin Nolan and Chris Perry, have played more Premier League matches than me and not been capped,” Noble wrote in his Evening Standard column.
“I don’t quite know what to make of that, except to say that I grew up around the corner from Upton Park as a fan of the club. Every player’s pinnacle is to play for their country but, as a kid, my dream was to play for West Ham. It was never a dream to play for England.
“Yes, there is a regret that I never won a full cap, particularly since I played 20 times for the Under 21s and I do feel like there were times when I was more than good enough to be picked for the senior team. There have been times when it has affected me and I have thought, “How have I not been picked?’ It’s too late now anyway. Watching Declan (Rice) play is enough for me — and I have had plenty of other highlights in my career.”
Noble was particularly surprised to have missed out of Roy Hodgson’s England squad for the Euros 2016 after an impressive campaign for West Ham.
The Hammers academy graduate scored seven goals in 37 league games as the club finished in seventh place in the 2015-16 season, but wasn’t considered good enough to be on the plane to France.
The Irons midfielder represented England 47 times across five youth levels, but wasn’t lucky enough to be called up at senior level.
Noble is eligible to play for the Republic of Ireland national side through his grandparents, but he opted not to, and it remains to be seen if he wished he had.
Nevertheless, he remains a West Ham legend and will go down in history as one of their best and most influential players of all time.