Bilic’s Antonio joy


SportSlaven Bilic is absolutely thrilled that Michail Antonio has committed himself to West Ham, and revealed there has been interest in him from other clubs.

The manager said: “It’s great news for us. To be fair, I have always been confident Mikey would sign, but it is still a great feeling to have one of our top players to commit himself to us for the long term.

“The Chairman has worked very hard to get the deal done because, to be honest, it’s not just paper talk – there have been a lot of big clubs interested in him, so it is great for the club to do this before the end of the season.

“He appreciates that we have done a lot for him as a club, and he sees his future at West Ham, which is brilliant.”

The Hammers boss added: “His progress has been incredible. He was raw material when he played in the Championship, but he has now improved tactically, as a team player, and has kept that amazing physical ability.

“Of course, like any player, there are still things he can work on and continue to improve, but now he is much more complete.

“He represents the real modern day player. He can play up front, on the wings, or he can defend, he has pace, he has power and he scores goals, which of course is the most important thing in football. He’s a great asset for us.”

Bilic firmly believes Antonio will force his way into England manager Gareth Southgate’s team next season saying: “Yes I do. England have some good players in attacking positions but if Mikey continues to show the form he showed this season then he will be in the running.

“He got into the squad at the start of the qualification early in the season, and I expect him to push on and stay involved. Because not many players can do the kind of things he is doing on the pitch, week in, week out.”

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Hugh Southon is a lifelong Iron and the founding editor of ClaretandHugh. He is a national newspaper journalist of many years experience and was Bobby Moore's 'ghost' writer during the great man's lifetime. He describes ClaretandHugh as "the Hammers daily newspaper!"

Follow on Twitter @hughsouthon


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