West Ham first team coach Stuart Pearce has praised Michail Antonio after the striker made his international debut for Jamaica on Sunday.
The Lowdown: Reggae Boyz bow
The 31-year-old made his long-awaited international debut for Jamaica at the weekend after he chose to represent the Caribbean country. He lasted 70 minutes and was replaced by Sporting Charleroi’s Shamar Nicholson as Panama ran out 3-0 winners over the Reggae Boyz in Kingston.
West Ham’s strong start to the season has been fuelled by Antonio’s performances, with four goals in three games seeing the striker nominated for the Premier League Player of the Month award for August alongside team-mate Said Benrahma.
With the World Cup just over a year away, consistent appearances for his nation could see the former Nottingham Forest man play on the grandest stage of all.
The Latest: Pearce confident for Antonio
Speaking on talkSPORT (via football.london), Pearce has been discussing Antonio’s career and elaborated on what he thinks the striker will be thinking.
The Irons coach said: “He’ll be looking and saying ‘Can I qualify for the World Cup and play at the World Cup?”
“He’s shown a real level of consistency, over the last couple of years I’ve got to say. I signed him at Nottingham Forest as a winger, and it was at that level of consistency you always striving for.
“His level of professionalism, his level of consistency have gone through the roof working under David [Moyes] and David’s really getting the best out of him. And I think from a Mich’s point of view, he’s really enjoyed his football.
“Whether his injuries now and then has stopped him from getting a level of consistency from the managers, who knows.”
The Verdict: Pearce is right
Pearce is quite right to laud Antonio’s “consistency”, with the 31-year-old hitting double figures for goals in each of the last two Premier League seasons and already nearly halfway to repeating the feat again in the current campaign.
It’s great to see him representing his nation on an international level, but there may be a slight concern among some supporters as to whether the travelling and game-time will affect him for West Ham, with the Europa League on the horizon along with the bread and butter of the Premier League.
His performances in the last couple of seasons more than warrant a chance to show his talents at a bigger stage, but his injury record doesn’t bode well with the number of games coming up. Let’s just hope that such fears prove unfounded.
In other West Ham news, many supporters loved one moment from the international break. Find out more here.
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