West Ham’s Antonio: Championship boy Hugill is as strong as an ox!
PUBLISHED: 08:30 06 February 2018
Hammers winger Michail is back and raring to go
What have Aaron Cresswell, Sam Byram and Michail Antonio all have in common?
The answer is that they all came from the Championship and so step forward new boy Jordan Hugill from Preston.
The big striker hardly arrived with a big fanfare, but he came on as a sub for the last 10 minutes at Brighton on Saturday and the £9million man has already impressed one of this team-mates.
Fellow sub Antonio was quick to sing his praises.
“I haven’t trained much with Jordan, but he has come on and he looks like an ox!” said the former Nottingham Forest man.
“I have never seen anyone deal with Shane Duffy the way he did!”
The former Preston striker has scored 10 goals this season and Antonio feels that he will adapt to the Premier League sooner rather than later.
“People talk about the Championship as if it is a boring world,” he said. “There are some very technical players down there and a lot of quality and it is a very physical game.
“You need that same physicality in the Premier League but it is also a question of whether you are technically good and if you can keep up with the speed of the game.
“But you can learn that in no time. On the training ground you are going to pick up things and you are going to be a Premier League player in no time.”
It is has been a tough time for Antonio. After suffering an injury against Newcastle in December, his return was delayed when he was disciplined by manager David Moyes after again turning up late for a team meeting.
But now he is back and that infectious humour and laugh can only help the team after what has been a rough week for West Ham.
“You can’t let that stuff affect you, although it happens more at West Ham than any other club,” he said, letting out one of those big, mischievous laughs.
“But it is part and parcel of the game and we can’t let that affect us, so we keep moving on and performing as professionals.
“Everything you can possibly need on the training ground is there for you, so you just have to get on with it.”
It proved a frustrating return to action for the 27-year-old winger as nothing quite went right for him, but he insists that he is fit and raring to go.
“I am buzzing to be back, but disappointed with the result,” he said.
“It was just one of those things where the second goal really killed us. Things were looking all right and we were dealing with things well.
“I have been working hard and doing a lot of running. Match fitness is a lot different to that, but I hope I can pick it up quickly and when I came on I thought I did all right.
“I didn’t think I had enough time to show what I can do, but hopefully that will pick up.”
Hopefully it will as West Ham really need the likes of Antonio, Manuel Lanzini and Marko Arnautovic back if they are to keep away from the relegation zone.
Antonio is confident that they will.
“We don’t think about relegation,” he said. “With the players we have, we are not looking down, we are looking up.
“It was one of those things against Brighton, but before that we were six games unbeaten, so we are looking upwards to see where we can go.”
Antonio will hope for a bigger role against Watford on Saturday.
“We definitely need to win this game,” said Antonio. “To be honest, every game is one we need to win.
“We just need to go out there and give out all and bring back the three points.”