Thursday, December 01, 2005
NRC: Anton and Mark are destined for great things
Injured West Ham captain Nigel Reo-Coker has sung the praises of Anton Ferdinand and Mark Noble after their recent performance against Manchester United.
He told website icons.com, "I think Anton has proved himself to be one of the best young players in the country, and he is definitely one of the best young defenders in England. Some people had doubts over him before, but he's shown them that he is good enough to play at the top level. I reckon Anton can achieve great things in football providing that he remains level-headed and continues to work hard. If Anton can stay focussed he has an exceptionally bright future ahead of him.
"Anton had the job of trying to shackle Wayne Rooney and overall I thought he did excellently. Wayne Rooney was unbelievable against us. He proved just what a world-class player he is with that performance. When a striker of his calibre is on fire and on top of his game there is absolutely nothing you can do to stop them. Wayne was nothing short of brilliant. Anton's performed superbly all season since making the step up to the Premiership and he won't have a harder task than he had last weekend. He was up against two of the best strikers in the world in Rooney and Van Nistelrooy, yet he still played very well.
"Another youngster that's impressing everybody at the club is Mark Noble. For his age he is frightening! Mark has so much ability it really is ridiculous. The best thing about him is that he doesn't have one best strength - he's a genuine all-action midfielder who does a bit of everything, and he does it well.
"The lad can score and create goals, he can tackle, he can pass and he also has a flair for attempting tricks. He really is going to be a fans' favourite! Like Anton, I firmly believe that Mark Noble is destined for great things during his career. His potential is enormous.
"It just goes to show that the famous West Ham youth academy is back to its best. There are so many quality kids coming through at the moment. It's fantastic."
Of course, Mark Noble's big chance came after first choice Reo-Coker fractured his ankle, leaving Alan Pardew with limited choices in the centre of midfield. Understandably, the injured midfielder is anxious to get back onto the field.
"My recovery is going excellently," he said. "The cast comes off for good next Wednesday morning and I hope to begin training with the team straight away after that. I might have to break myself in gently, but I expect to be training at full pace within a fortnight. I'm feeling fine and am walking without pain so I don't foresee being out of action for too much longer.
"That's brilliant, because I can't wait to get out there with the lads again. It was very frustrating to miss last weekend's match at home to Manchester United, but I have to say I thought it was a really entertaining game to watch from the stands. Both sides gave it everything and I thought it was a good advert for the Premiership.
"Even though we lost 2-1, I still think West Ham played excellently. Unfortunately for us we caught Manchester United on a good day when they showed everybody the quality they possess. They were outstanding at times, playing some superb stuff, but we matched them for long periods, which has to be a positive. The lads were gutted to lose, but I think they know deep down that they had nothing to be ashamed of."