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13th Mar 2016

Mark Noble confirms he turned down Republic of Ireland approach


Gareth Makim

Sticking with England.

West Ham midfielder Mark Noble has revealed that he rejected the chance to turn out for the Republic of Ireland.

The 28-year-old is a former England Under-21 captain but has yet to feature at senior level, and there has long been speculation surrounding his willingness to instead play for Ireland, the birthplace of his grandparents.

Now leading the Hammers as they mount a charge for a place in next season’s Champions League, there are growing calls for Noble to be given his England chance and, having previously refused to completely rule out playing for Ireland, he has now publicly declared his desire to wait for an opportunity with Roy Hodgson’s squad.

“I have had a chance of playing for Ireland – I’ve been approached and asked,” Noble told the Times.

“My nan and grandad are full Irish. But there are Irish boys who would love to play for Ireland, like me with England. I wouldn’t put myself into something I wasn’t fully committed to. I wouldn’t want to take that chance off a full Irish player.

“I’m patriotic and I’d love to play for England. I played England U-15 to U-21. A lot of people are talking about me and England. If it happens, it happens.”

There’s no hint as to when Noble was approached, or by which Ireland manager, but while he would no doubt add a touch of class to the Irish midfield, you to respect his refusal to just turn up in the hope of earning a few caps while his heart wasn’t really in it.

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