When the recent England squad was announced, many expected West Ham players to star. However, only one got in and that was Michail Antonio. The Hammers midfielder could be set for his first cap for England soon, but what about the journey that Antonio took from being a non-league player to a name on everyone’s lips.
Antonio’s first club was Tooting & Mitcham United, where he played for their separate junior team for five years before joining the senior team in 2007. Antonio went on to make 45 appearances for the side scoring 33 goals before attracting the attention of Championship side Reading.
Antonio’s Reading career never really took off as he was loaned out a number of times which included clubs like Southampton and Colchester but a short spell at Sheffield Wednesday led to a permanent transfer the following season. Antonio stayed at Wednesday for two years and had various success at the club scoring 12 times in 64 appearances.
Nottingham Forest then came calling and Antonio was transferred for a fee believed to be around £1.5 million. This is where Antonio first started to grab the attention of Premier League clubs as his consistent performances led to Championship player of the month nominations and he was also voted player of the season for 2014-15 after staring every league game that season.
During the next transfer window, Antonio was subject to numerous bids from the likes of West Brom and Derby, but Antonio signed for West Ham on the 1st September 2015 for a fee of around £7 million. His start as a Hammers player didn’t go too well as he failed to really make an impact within the side, however once he got his first goal for the club in December 2015, Antonio has gone from strength to strength showcasing his ability to run at defenders, provide pinpoint crosses and also, show his presence in the air with a variety of well-timed headed goals including the first Premier League goal to be scored at West Ham’s new home The London Stadium.
Looking back on his career, it shows that Antonio has worked extremely hard to get to where he is today and based on how he is performing now, things can only get better for the 26 year old.