Slaven Bilic appears to be sending out mixed messages on the future of Michail Antonio.
The manager’s attitude towards the £7 million signing has been closely examined over recent weeks and he has now broken his silence on the player.
He is reported in The Wharf as saying: ” “We were short of players in that position when we brought him to the club, then we got a few more players in at the end of the transfer window.
“He hasn’t had the chance because of the number of players we had. We were playing good and we didn’t change a lot.”
“I’ve had a few chats with him and he’s working hard and is a good player – that’s why we brought him. Now we’ve had a few injuries that we didn’t want I’ve told him that his chance will come.
Like any other player he has to prove himself in training and to convince me and the member of my staff. He’s working hard and his chance will probably come soon.”
It’s an interesting explanation and appears to cover all ends against the middle by declaring on the one hand his chance “will probably come soon” (my italics) whilst at the same time saying “he has to prove he is a member of his staff.”
ClaretandHugh revealed earlier today however, that the manager had resisted the advances of five Championship clubs who had wanted to take him in the emergency loan market so that will offer the player some hope that he will soon be used.
Michail – it would seem from that – is in the manager’s mind although at £7 million – a substantial amount of money in West Ham terms – to still be having to prove himself is something of an eyebrow raiser!