It has to be said that this season’s surprise package in the Premier League has been West Ham United, who are up there at the top end of the table fighting for a Champions League place. It’s been an incredible turnaround for the Hammers under David Moyes. Last season saw them avoid relegation in the last few games, and so for them to now be scrapping it out for possible European football rather than worrying about dropping into the Championship is quite remarkable, especially given that the club has spent little in the transfer market. German betting experts sportwetten-test.org are backing West Ham to surprise everyone and finish in the top four.
And while David Moyes is quite rightly receiving plaudits for the job he’s done transforming West Ham’s fortunes, someone else who deserves a lot of credit for the revival at the London Stadium is frontman Michail Antonio. Antonio has had an excellent season for the Hammers so far, netting 7 times in 17 Premier League appearances, though he deserves an equal amount of praise for his all-round game.
Antonio is 30-years old, and prior to signing for West Ham from Nottingham Forest in 2015, would probably have been best described as a journeyman, even though he was only 25 at the time.
He began his career in the semi-pro game, signing for Tooting and Mitcham United when he was 17. He scored on his debut for the non-leaguers, and after scoring 4 goals in 4 appearances, was signed by Reading of the Championship. He spent four years at the Madejski Stadium, but spent most of that time on-loan at other clubs. He made just 28 appearances for the Royals, scoring just once.
During the 2011/12 season, he had a short spell on-loan at Sheffield Wednesday where he scored 5 times in 14 appearances, and in the summer of 2012, signed for the Owls on a permanent basis. He spent two seasons at Hillsborough before joining Nottingham Forest, where he spent just over two seasons, leaving to sign for West Ham in September 2015.
Antonio seems settled at West Ham, and in the five-and-a-half years he’s been with the club, has developed into a good, solid, all-round forward who weighs in with goals – 45 in 175 games – while he’s honest, and puts in a shift for the team. He’s popular with both his manager and his teammates, and the club’s supporters, and you can see why.
It’s going to be difficult for Michail Antonio to force his way into the England set-up given the embarrassment of attacking riches that Gareth Southgate has at his disposal and his age. But if Southgate wanted something just a little bit different, he could do no worse than give Michail Antonio a call.