West Ham United attacker Michail Antonio has heaped praise on goalkeeper David Martin after he kept a clean sheet on his Premier League debut against Chelsea.
The 33-year-old summer signing was handed a first-ever appearance in the English top-flight at the expense of the under-fire Roberto.
Martin – son of Hammers legend Alvin, didn’t have a particularly busy afternoon at Stamford Bridge as the Blues struggled to break down a stubborn Irons defence.
There were emotional scenes at the full-time whistle after the 0-1 win as Martin was mobbed by his teammates. He then embraced father Alvin in the stands.
Speaking about the heartwarming moments, Antonio said (football.london): “I’m so happy for him because he is West Ham through and through with his dad being a massive legend at the club and him getting his opportunity.
“Football’s crazy. Last year, at new year, I don’t think he was even playing at Millwall and now he is playing at Chelsea so I’m buzzing for him and hopefully he can keep do it.”
Antonio then revealed Martin has something of a hidden talent: “He’s a great lad. As soon as he’s come in he’s nice, he’s always up for everything. He’s unbelievable at teqball – one of the best at the club, you want to know that. But he’s down to earth, he enjoys every minute of it and he’s a massive football fan so he’s a great guy to have in the dressing room.
“The boys love him. And you could see everyone has gone to congratulate him [at full-time] because it’s been a great performance.”
TBR’s view – Martin presence put defenders at ease
Manuel Pellegrini simply has to continue with Martin in goal from here.
He may not have had much to do on his debut, but the defence appeared to benefit from having a more calming influence behind them.
Roberto, in recent weeks, has emitted panic which affects those around him and the Chilean would no doubt anger supporters by recalling the Spaniard.