West Ham United captain Mark Noble admits he is frustrated with midfielder Dimitri Payet’s refusal to play for the club in order to force through a move during the January transfer window.
Manager Slaven Bilic went public about Payet’s desire to leave West Ham on Thursday, outlining how the French fan-favourite had gone on strike in an attempt leave the club.
“I am angry and disappointed, because I have always said that he is one of the best players I have ever played with,” Noble told British media.
Payet, who signed a five-year contract last February, has been strongly linked with a return to French side Olympique de Marseille by the British media.
“I had — and I say had because I haven’t really spoken to him for the last two or three weeks — a great relationship with him, but I don’t know his reasons,” Noble added.
“I am not going to comment on why he wanted to leave but I do know that if someone doesn’t want to play for the team then they are better off not even playing.”
Noble also heaped praised on Bilic for handling the difficult situation in the right manner.
“I thought the manager was right in what he did because it is hard. You have to win games and if you have your best player who doesn’t want to play for you then obviously he has had to do something about it,” the 29-year-old said.
“I have been here all my life so I find it hard to realise that someone wouldn’t want to play for the club. It’s a massive club and he is absolutely adored — was adored here — by the fans. But football and fans change quickly.”
Payet’s absence had little impact on West Ham as they romped to a resounding victory over Crystal Palace on Saturday.