Trevor Sinclair believes that West Ham forward Michail Antonio has been “playing out of his skin” recently, albeit he will miss the weekend’s game against Liverpool through injury.
The Hammers travel to Anfield on Saturday evening in the Premier League and will do so without their talisman in attack.
Antonio, who manager David Moyes ruled out of the weekend’s fixture (official website), has gone from strength to strength at the London Stadium since his transformation into a centre-forward.
The 30-year-old has been a versatile star since he joined West Ham for £7million (Sky Sports) from Nottingham Forest five years ago, which has seen him play as a full-back, midfielder and attacker.
But Hammers boss Moyes has settled on him as his main striker and he scored 10 goals in 26 appearances last season, while this campaign he’s started with three goals in six games.
Ex-West Ham striker Sinclair has given a glowing verdict on the form of Antonio:
“He’s possibly one of the cleverest strikers I’ve seen play in the Premier League this year,” Sinclair told talkSPORT.
“The way that he holds the ball up. The timing of his movement. The fact that he fights for space before the ball even gets there. His finishing has improved. He’s playing out of his skin.”
Antonio is going to be a major miss at the weekend against Liverpool due to his presence in the final third with his pace and power, but it’s promising news that Moyes doesn’t think his injury problem is serious.
It should open the door for Sebastien Haller to come into the XI and he’s a centre-forward that has looked brilliant in the cup this season, but needs a chance to replicate that in the league.
It was a difficult first season for him last year and he’s got tough competition for a starting position with Antonio, but the window of opportunity may have just opened for him.