Two weeks ago many West Ham United fans thought they had seen the last of Michail Antonio.
Supporters have been left bewildered by Antonio’s fall from grace at West Ham.
The former non-league player’s meteoric rise up the league’s saw him land a big money move to East London.
A raw but blistering quick and powerful attacker Antonio was a rough diamond.
But he soon became a fans’ favourite thanks to his never-say-die attitude and hard graft on the pitch.
Indeed he even scooped the club’s prestigious Hammer of the Year award in their first season at the London Stadium.
Downward spiral coincided with bumper new deal
That same month Antonio was rewarded with a bumper new contract on a reported £70,000 per week (Sky Sports).
His career has been in a downward spiral ever since.
Injuries, a lack of form when fit and what many fans have seen as a lack of his trademark hunger, desire and workrate have raised question marks.
Some fans feel Antonio’s first major money contract had gone to his head.
Many wanted him shipped out after he failed time and again to produce the goods when given the chance.
He was linked with a move to Crystal Palace in the summer.
And Pellegrini recently told him he is not doing enough and must start scoring more to save his Hammers career (The Mirror).
‘Can I really say I came back?’
He did just that with a performance typical of the Antonio of old against Cardiff, topping it off with a goal.
And now Antonio has offered supporters a candid explanation as to why he has struggled for the last 18 months.
“I was in the team week in and week out, but I did my hamstring,” Antonio told whufc.com when pinpointing where his downward spiral began.
“I came back from that, but can I really say I came back from it? I’d play one week and I was injured again. I would play another week and there was another injury.
“That first hamstring, I would say, put me out until now.”
‘My head was saying it, but my body wasn’t doing it’
“It was only in the Manchester City game two weeks ago that I felt fresh, sharp, and like the old me from two years ago. That was when I really felt like myself again.
“This season, I’ve been trying to do all the things I used to be able to do, and my head was saying it but my body wasn’t doing it.
“In that Man City, it was the first time I felt like my head was telling me to do something and my body was actually doing it. That gave me confidence.”
West Ham fans and Antonio will be hoping it is onwards and upwards from here.