Noble a victim of England's big-club bias, says Bilic

Jack Wilshere has been assured he will travel to Euro 2016 in France if fit despite not playing all season, but Bilic feels the West Ham midfielder should be considered
Slaven Bilic believes a big-club bias in England is the only thing preventing Mark Noble from making the national team ahead of Euro 2016.

Three Lions boss Roy Hodgson surprised fans and pundits when he declared Jack Wilshere was guaranteed a spot ahead of the summer tournament if he gets fit despite not having played a game for Arsenal all season.

Hammers captain Noble has been an integral part of his side during his 12-year stay at Upton Park, clocking up over 350 appearances and a further 20 for England's Under-21 side.

Yet the 28-year-old has never broken into the senior squad, despite his consistent performances in an excellent season where West Ham sit a point off the Champions League places, and Bilic feels he should be given a chance.

"I have a right to say my opinion and I don’t understand why Mark Noble is not in the England team," he told reporters ahead of his side's visit to Everton on Saturday.

"Tackling-wise, running-wise, fitness-wise, skill, most of all skill-wise, he is one of the top midfielders of the season. 

"We have that situation with Aaron Cresswell as well. Bigger clubs’ players are in the squad when not regulars. It shouldn’t be like that, especially in England and especially now that the season is a bit different. 


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"In Russia’s squad, most of the players are from Zenit, CSKA, Lokomotiv, Spartak and one or two from Kuban or Krasnodar - they have to fly week-in, week-out to come. In Turkey, it is Fenerbahce, Galatasaray, Besiktas."

However Bilic, who notched 44 caps for Croatia before managing them between 2006 and 2012, admitted he himself favoured Luka Modric at times when he was not always fully fit.

He said: "Maybe Wilshere is to Hodgson what Luka Modric was to me. I would take Luka even if he was missing a big part of the season. 

"I have a very good relationship with Roy Hodgson, I have known him a long time. He has been to my office five or six times before games this season and he is great. 

"It doesn’t get to Mark because Mark is a brilliant player - he is not a drill-breaker or a trouble-maker. 

"It’s only my opinion, but Mark Noble has had a fantastic season."

Noble, who can also represent the Republic of Ireland, will hope to be part of next Thursday's squad announcement for friendlies against Netherlands and Germany in March.