When news broke yesterday that Michail Antonio was switching international allegiance to Jamaica it raised a few eyebrows.
According to Sky Sports, Antonio has been approached by Jamaica and is ‘passionate’ about representing them in a bid to help fire the Reggae Boyz to the 2022 World Cup finals.
The West Ham forward has twice been named in past England squads. First by ex Hammers boss Sam Allardyce and then Gareth Southgate.
Jamaica revelation ahead of March internationals sparks Antonio injury concerns amid West Ham run-in
But due to non-selection and injury, Antonio never made his debut.
He is therefore free to switch his allegiance to Jamaica – who he reportedly turned down for England back in 2016 (Sky Sports).
When the news broke yesterday many West Ham fans raised concerns given Antonio’s injury record and the fact he is the club’s only striker.
West Ham’s European hopes rest on the striker’s troublesome hamstrings.
And Moyes would undoubtedly have been unnerved at the news with an international break looming large next month – right in the middle of a crucial run of fixtures for West Ham.
Moyes would be unnerved at the thought of travel and more games for his only striker, but report allays fears
The prospect of seeing his only striker jet off around the world on long flights to play even more football is not one Moyes would have relished.
So the Scot – and West Ham fans everywhere – will be mightily relieved by a claim from a Sky Sports report overnight.
Because Antonio has told the Jamaican Football Federation he is fully focusing on West Ham and does not want to be selected for the March internationals.
Instead he will make himself available for Jamaica’s internationals in July – when West Ham’s season will be over – and September, by which point Moyes will have signed at least one new striker.
“Antonio is unlikely to be involved in the next international break as he wants to focus on West Ham, but is very keen to be part of the squad for the Gold Cup matches in July and the CONCACAF qualifiers in September,” Sky Sports report.
A major coup for Jamaica and a big relief for Hammers
London-born Antonio, who has Jamaican parents, would be a major coup for Jamaica.
He is one of the form strikers in the Premier League since being converted from a winger by Moyes.
His record speaks for itself with 15 goals in 33 matches since making the switch.
After his most recent spell out of the team through injury, Antonio returned in style with a goal in the 2-1 win over Tottenham last weekend.
And he will be hoping for more of the same as the Hammers make the daunting trip to Man City tomorrow lunchtime.