West Ham United star Michail Antonio opens up on hamstring injury concerns as club’s only striker after netting another goal in win over Spurs.
When it comes to assessing a player’s importance to a team, they don’t come any more crucial than Hammers star Antonio.
He proved that once again on Sunday, upstaging Tottenham star Harry Kane to net the winner at the London Stadium.
The self-styled beast has been a revelation since being converted from a winger to a striker by David Moyes.
He is the focal point of West Ham’s attack and his goal to games record since becoming the club’s main striker is second to none.
The only thing that has hampered Antonio at times has been his troublesome hamstrings.
It hampered West Ham too last season when Moyes’s side missed out on the Champions League by a single win having lost their fearsome forward for an extended period once again.
Antonio has never played more than 30 games in a season for West Ham. Indeed he has only managed more than 23 once – when he played 29 back in 2016/17.
So when Moyes elected not to sign a back-up striker in the summer – or indeed last January having sold Sebastien Haller – West Ham fans were worried.
West Ham have proved they can function and get results without Antonio.
But the Hammers are a completely different animal with him in the side.
And so those concerns still linger. It is in West Ham fans’s nature to believe something bad is always around the corner no matter how well the club is doing.
Now Antonio has spoken out to address those concerns over his hamstring injuries.
West Ham star Michail Antonio opens up on hamstring injury concerns as club’s only striker
And he has told The Athletic something that will be music to the ears of every Hammers fan – that he has not even felt his hamstrings this season due to lifestyle changes he has made.
“I’ve come to realise I’m no longer the young pup that I used to be,” Antonio told The Athletic.
“I kept believing that I was. There were certain things in life I was doing that I could have been better with.
“I used to eat what I wanted, I wasn’t the best eater. Now I’ve changed my diet and routine of life. And I’ve noticed since I changed my diet I’ve had less niggles and I’ve not felt my hamstrings at all.”
The Athletic revealed that a new full-body gym routine involving single leg Romanian deadlifts is also helping to ward off those nightmarish hamstring problems.
While it is all well and good trying to vindicate Moyes’s decision not to sign a back-up striker in the summer, the matter is brought into focus when he has to be rested to protect him from injury.
And that will likely be the case when West Ham entertain Man City in the Carabao Cup fourth round this Wednesday night.