West Ham captaincy: The alternatives to Mark Noble
(Photo: West Ham United FC / Getty Images)

Before discussing those who may potentially wear the armband, it is first important to note how well Mark Noble has conducted himself in the role over the years.

Loyal, passionate and a born leader, the Hammers’ number 16 is the perfect example of a West Ham United captain.  All are traits that Manuel Pellegrini will consider when deciding which player is the best choice for the position, if Noble isn't selected.

Declan Rice

Since breaking into the first team, Declan Rice has been tipped as a future West Ham captain. A player who understands what it means to play for the club, adored by the fans and seen as ‘one of their own’, many regard Rice as Noble’s natural successor.

Some supporters feel it makes sense for the England international to be gradually introduced to the role while the current captain is still at the club, allowing him to learn without taking on massive responsibility straight away.

The only factor that would prevent the 20-year-old from receiving the honour is his inexperience. As one of the younger members of the squad, there is the chance that the added pressure could hinder his development.

However, if his career so far is anything to go by, it is likely that the academy graduate would take the armband in his stride, showing the same maturity that has been evident since bursting onto the scene.

Fabian Balbuena

Nicknamed ‘The General’, Fabian Balbuena is a very popular candidate among West Ham fans following his commanding performances at the heart of the defence last season.

Although the Paraguayan international is only 27-years-old, he displays the same composure as a veteran defender and was unfazed throughout the last campaign, despite it being his first time playing in a European league.

The language barrier is the biggest factor that would prevent Balbuena from receiving the armband, however, the centre back’s consistency and calming influence arguably outweigh his inability to speak perfect English.

Jack Wilshere

Jack Wilshere comes from a family of West Ham supporters and has previously spoken of the pride he takes in wearing the claret and blue shirt.

One of the standout performers in pre-season, the former Arsenal midfielder is both classy and committed, and some think that these traits in addition to his hard-working attitude make him a good choice for captain.

Arguably the most technically gifted player in the squad, the 27-year-old has the ability to lead through his influence on the game, however, his poor injury-record could leave him unavailable for large parts of the season.

If Wilshere is able to prove his durability then he is a viable option, however doubts over his long-term fitness still remain.

Lukasz Fabianski

Last season’s ‘Hammer of the Year’, vastly experienced and respected by both teammates and fans alike; it is difficult to think of many reasons as to why Lukasz Fabianski would not make a good captain.

The Polish international will be first-choice for the Hammers between the sticks again this season and can be relied upon for his consistency.

Perhaps the only reason Pellegrini will opt to give the armband to a different player would be for positional reasons. Despite the fact the goalkeeper is able to see the whole pitch in front of him, the manager may prefer a captain who is in the heart of the action.

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