web analytics

The secret of Antonio’s success revealed

Antonio - nine goals

Antonio – nine goals

Michail Antonio’s amazing England call-up is a reward for dedication and hard work says the man who helped him in his early days – former Three Lions winger  Steve Coppell.


The kid who started out at started out at Tooting & Mitcham was recommended to Coppell when he was manager of Reading by manager of the South London side Billy Smith.


Coppell – speaking to The Mirror – said: “I went to watch him play probably a couple of times and he did have something different and it was always the difference that appealed to me with non-league players.

“It would maybe sound wrong to say it now but there was something refreshingly naïve about him in terms of his attitude, his manner, his ability.

“He had good ability, he was obviously very raw at that stage and we just decided to give him an opportunity and see what he could do with it.

“He had pace, the ability to beat people and a determination which is still apparent now.

Steve Coppell Main“When the ball comes into the box he wants to get on the end of it and he has got an eye for goal.

“I could tell he had something that would make him be better, that would progress him but I didn’t know how far it would take him.

“He had a willingness to learn from day one. He was a very quiet boy in those days. You didn’t even know he was in the room but you got the impression that he was watching and learning all the time and since then he has just progressed and progressed.

“It has not been an overnight success. He has had to work for everything he has achieved and this is another part of his process.

“When we eventually signed Ian Wright I did say to (Palace chairman) Ron Noades ‘I know this sounds stupid but he has the ability to play for England.’

“It wasn’t so obvious with Michail but he had something which set him apart from other players at that level.

Antonio had five different loan spells while at Reading and then made permanent moves to Sheffield Wednesday and Nottingham Forest before joining West Ham for £7million last summer.

Coppell said: “He has taken a fairly circuitous route (to the top). He has kept knocking away and working at his trade.

“That is always good to see. If something is dumped in somebodies lap and they haven’t worked for it they don’t appreciate it as much as the years work he has put in to get where he is.

“And he has worked for it. We perhaps opened the door for him (at Reading) but he has come charging through with all his might and congratulations to him.

“I am delighted with how he has progressed over the years and very pleased that the raw talent we saw in those early years has been transferred into a potential England player.

“He is not too conservative in the things he does, he still makes mistakes but again the thing that I have enjoyed seeing is his elevation.

“He has got better with the elevation to West Ham and now with the elevation to England it is whether he can raise his game again and go on again because I’m sure he doesn’t want to be a one call-up wonder.

He will want to make sure he cements himself into the England setup.”


Click Here for Comments >

About Hugh5outhon1895

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

8 comments on “The secret of Antonio’s success revealed

  1. Just hope he doesn’t come back looking tired with bags under his eyes it could cause an article and mass debate for a number of months amongst the parishioners 🙂

  2. Are they not too busy moaning about corporate west ham gw.Nobes & the team have become insignificant when you can moan about corporate west ham instead.
    My sons wanted to talk about Zaza this morning but I told them it was banned.Only moaning about corporate west ham is allowed around the breakfast table now 😉

    • Hope you made them all sit down while you were having the discussion JB? Can’t have these new breed of West Ham fans suddenly going to the new stadium and standing they need to be trained from an early age 🙂

      • You could have put good money on where the biggest drama would be about the move.We ain’t been let down GW lol

  3. I would worry more about Slaven Bilic if I was you fellas..it would appear he is on his death bed,looking jaundiced & about to croak it anytime soon
    Enter stage left the drama queens Ha

  4. This lad just shows you what you can achieve if you put in a 100% effort every time you put on your club shirt,
    Watched him arrive with the others at England HQ and he was the most natural,
    Never looked uncomfortable as if he was always there,
    Will he get a chance,who knows,I think Hippo will just stick to the same team and not change anything as long as we qualify he will say it’s him doing it his way,
    We will qualify but the team will go no where,
    Just hope we sign cover at RB or poor Antonio will end up there anyway and we will be told there is nothing we can do its down to injury,
    Slav wants Tore or Feggolui at RW even though they won’t score as many goals between them,
    If I was Zaza or Calleri I would want Antonio on the RW
    Payet on the Left and Lanzin behind them in the pocket because they will provide more chances then any other formation

    • My thoughts entirelyagain, maestro Bubs!
      A friend is a Reading season ticket holder, and I used to use his spare ticket quite often. Antonio was already extremely good then, and that was a long time ago now.
      Much as I liked the ten Rs manager, Brian McDermott, I never understood why he kept loaning him out…and eventually the Rs sold him, which seemed completely nuts…then he washes up at WHU! Boy are we lucky! Don’t forget, he didn’t get in the team till Dec. Incredible rise. Why? Because, despite being a bit ungainly, he’s effing brilliant, and nearly all supporters seem to hold him to their hearts, not just for his never say die attitude on the pitch, but his gentlemanly behaviour off it. “Legend in the making” to quote another fan! He is a true role model for any player in how to deal with set backs, and believe in yourself…

  5. That’s all we need bubs.Cover for Byram,nothing more than that.Give the boy a good run in the team & he will blossom.I think he will be a top player.Only the opinion of an inarticulate chump of course lol
    Slav is probably cream crackered because of his pregnant girlfriend.If his is anything like my dear little Komodo dragon he is probably being run ragged 🙂

Comments are closed.