There has been an absolutely massive Michail Antonio twist for West Ham as striker is out of the Jamaica squad for 15k mile round trip.
Antonio had looked set for a new 15,000 mile round trip and three games in a week with Jamaica despite concerns from West Ham manager David Moyes.
Antonio has been struggling for form, goals and consistency in a West Ham shirt since October of last year.
He looked back to something like his hustling, bustling best in the Europa League win over Sevilla last Thursday night, tormenting the Spanish side and laying on a goal for Tomas Soucek.
But he cut an agitated figure in Sunday’s 3-1 defeat to Spurs and spurned two very good chances as his Premier League goalscoring drought continued.
Moyes substituted Antonio for Andriy Yarmolenko just 10 minutes into the second half at Spurs with the game in the balance at 2-1.
After the game Moyes criticised the striker for his performance. And the Scot admitted he was also concerned about protecting Antonio’s delicate hamstrings.
“No (it was not a pre-arranged substitution) I just didn’t think he was contributing enough to the team,” Moyes said on Sky Sports.
“We needed to try something else. Mic’s played a lot of football as well so I’m always thinking about his hamstrings and not overcooking it.”
The West Ham boss stated he was grateful for the two-week international break to give his players some rest and a chance to refresh for the run in (Football.London).
If one player needed a rest perhaps more than any other at West Ham it is probably Antonio.
So it was a major concern that West Ham’s only striker looked set for another big international workload.
Especially given that Jamaica are second bottom of their eight-team World Cup qualifying group with only pride to play for in the final matches of the Qatar 2022 campaign.
Jamaica are due to play El Salvador at home, Canada away and then back to Jamaica to take on Honduras on Thursday March 31st.
That would have meant a race against time to get Antonio back and ready for West Ham’s crunch match against Everton on April 3rd, before the Europa League quarter-final against Lyon four days later.
But there has been an absolutely massive Antonio twist for West Ham as the striker is out of the Jamaica squad for the 15k mile round trip in the March international break.
Hall has still called up England-based players such as Leon Bailey, Ravel Morrison and Andre Gary.
But Antonio has been left out. Whether that was the striker pulling out or making himself unavailable, it is not clear.
It will undoubtedly be music to Moyes’s ears that his striker will now get a much-needed rest ahead of the run in.
As a result Antonio will avoid spending almost 30 hours in the air over the next week or two.
West Ham have also announced that six senior players have been called up for international duty and Antonio is not among them.
Let’s hope West Ham see the benefits when the action resumes at the start of April.