Mark Noble’s football intelligence ‘is as good as Andrea Pirlo’, claims former West Ham boss Gianfranco Zola

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Gianfranco Zola claims Mark Noble has a similar level of football intelligence to Italy legend Andrea Pirlo. The West Ham United captain played under Zola during his two years in charge at Upton Park, starring in midfield alongside Scott Parker. AFP Mark Noble’s football intelligence is ‘as good as Andrea Pirlo’, according to Gianfranco Zola Noble, 33, will make his 500th appearance for the Hammers on Friday night if he features against Watford at the London Stadium in their crucial Premier League clash. And Zola admitted he loved working with the tenacious tackler, citing his intelligence on the pitch as a huge factor. He told The Athletic: “He was an intelligent player and I’ve always considered his footballing intelligence to be as good as Andrea Pirlo. “Noble was an important player for me on and off the pitch.” Getty Images – Getty Italian legend Andrea Pirlo lifts one of his many trophies West Ham boss David Moyes could well call upon the veteran for the crucial game against the Hornets after his starring role against Norwich during a 4-0 victory. He provided an assist for one of Michail Antonio’s four goals, had a pass accuracy of 89 per cent, created eight chances and recovered the ball five times. And the Scot said of the 33-year-old midfielder, who made his senior debut in 2004: “I think now to get 500 games for any club; you have to give him great credit for that. “He’s been a one-club man and served the club incredibly well, since being a young player to where he is now – still leading the group, still very vocal, still playing very well. Long may it continue. Getty Images – Getty Noble is an absolutely integral part of the West Ham squad “We’ve had some great players here having many games like that – Billy Bonds, Sir Trevor (Brooking), Bobby Moore. I think for Mark to get to 500 games for West Ham is a great achievement. “He’s captain, a really important player for us, important in the dressing room, and I think West Ham should consider themselves lucky to have such a good player but also a really good man around the club. I hope he can work towards getting another 100 or 200 games.” Marlon Harewood hopes beating Chelsea will give West Ham the momentum they need to stay in the Premier League,

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