Slaven Bilic believes West Ham duo Mark Noble and Aaron Cresswell have been the best English players in their positions this season.
Noble now has a career-best seven league goals this term after a brace in Saturday’s 3-0 cruise at West Brom, but the 28-year-old’s hopes of a place in the England squad for the European Championship appear slim after he was left out of Roy Hodgson’s squad for their friendlies with Germany and Holland last month.
But Bilic has reiterated his belief uncapped Noble would make a difference for the Three Lions.
The former Croatia boss said: “I was an international coach for six years and the national team is not about the 23 best players in one country. It’s also a team, especially in the big tournaments where they are together for six weeks.
“It needs atmosphere and everything – stars and lesser stars and all that. Mark is a great person also. He’s playing great. He could help England.
“There are not many but there are no midfielders who are having a better season than he is – constantly from the first game at Arsenal. He’s unbelievable. He’s playing for the club and doing great.”
And Bilic said, while he does not want to tell Hodgson who to pick, he remains surprised neither Noble nor Cresswell have been afforded opportunities.
He said: “It’s not only Mark, I was talking about all our English players – especially Mark and Aaron. I don’t want to interfere, but to be fair I don’t see any of them playing better than Mark or Aaron in their positions.”
Victory over West Brom set a club-record points total of 59 in the Premier League and they remain in the hunt for Europe after Cheikhou Kouyate opened the scoring.
“I’m not going to lie and say it doesn’t mean anything – of course it does. It’s proof that the boys are doing a good job and long may it continue,” Bilic added.