David Moyes has admitted – in comments reported by Football London – that Michail Antonio is a concern for West Ham United’s clash with Sheffield United on Monday after missing their FA Cup defeat.
Antonio gave Hammers fans a scare at the weekend as he was taken off with 16 minutes remaining at Fulham. He did appear to be holding the back of his leg shortly before being replaced.
It was obviously a worry as the game was goalless at the time. And of course, the 30-year-old is one of the club’s biggest goal threats.
It may not have been a surprise therefore, to see him left out for the tie at Old Trafford on Tuesday.
But Moyes confirmed after the game that he was not being rested. He was subsequently asked whether he was a concern for their next fixture.
“I don’t think he is too bad, but I will have to wait and see,” he said, as reported by Football London, when asked if he was being rested or was injured. “We have had four games in ten days and three in six days where we played Mick. If you’d have said we’ll get that out of him a month or so ago we’d have been thrilled about it so we are being careful with him.
“He is a concern as he didn’t play tonight. We will see how he gets on in the next few days,” he added, when asked if he is a concern for Monday.
TBR View: Moyes’ January gamble may backfire already
Moyes will obviously feel under additional pressure as Antonio – who earns £70,000-a-week, according to Spotrac – battles to prove his fitness. His decision to not sign another striker in January is currently under the microscope.
In fairness to Moyes, you can understand why he was reluctant to replace Sebastien Haller with a new signing. January looks to be an incredibly difficult window to work in.
However, West Ham have shown that it is not impossible to make inspired signings in the winter window. Both Tomas Soucek and Jarrod Bowen were signed just over a year ago.
So Moyes’ decision to not replace Haller could certainly be deemed a gamble. And with a fresh question mark over Antonio’s fitness, it would appear that that risk may end up backfiring a little.