Hammer delighted by Scamacca signing

  • by Staff Writer
  • Thursday, 4th August 2022

Michail Antonio says he is delighted that West Ham have signed fellow striker Gianluca Scamacca - while revealing that he has been pleading for support for the last 18 months.

Antonio has been West Ham's sole senior striker since Sebastien Haller was sold the Ajax in the January 2021 transfer window.

And even though he has confounded his critics by largely remaining fit during that period while becoming one of the Premier League's deadliest strikers, he admitted that it was a relief to finally have another striker in the club's roster.

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And he also believes that having a challenger for a starting spot in the shape of the 23-year-old Italian international will help him to improve his focus and overall output.

Speaking on the latest edition of the Footballer's Football Podcast, which he hosts alongside Newcastle United striker Callum Wilson and Radio DJ Rickie Haywood Williams, Antonio said: "I've been asking for it. I've wanted the help. I wanted the push. I've been asking for it for like 18 months.

"We're in the European Conference now, we were in the Europa Least year. I played 52 games [last season], that's the most games I've played in my career.

"I'm getting older now. I do enjoy it, I do love playing but there are times when I need someone else there to help me out and contribute with me. I want someone to come in and push me.

"There were stages last season, which everyone talks about, in which I went quite a few games without scoring. If I had had someone there to push me and make me have to play better, be better and score goals then it probably wouldn't have gone on for so long. So I need that push, I need someone there challenging me."

And the 32-year-old feels he is in great shape going into the new season, having finally shaken off the 'sicknote' tag that he once had as a result of a series of hamstring-related injuries.

"Before 2020 I had quite a few injuries," he admitted. "They kept saying, 'oh Michail can never stay fit, we need to get people in because Michail's not going to last'.

"One thing is, being able to look after your body. Every footballer hates being injured. No-one plans to get injured. I went three years in a row getting injured but I've gone two years now without,

"So it's not about ruling someone out because they've had a couple of injuries, it's just trying to believe and trying to stay faithful."

And keeping the faith is paramount to West Ham's continued success this coming season, which begins with a home clash against current league champions Manchester City on Sunday.

"We just missed out on the Europa League last season so our ambition this season is getting into it," he revealed. "That's what we're looking to do - we don't look back, we keep looking forward. We just need to keep progressing and doing better. That's what we're trying to achieve.

"Over the last two years we've managed to do it. I don't feel like we should be looking back and if we've been able to do it over two years, then we should be able to do it over three.

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"The one thing we should be doing is always adapting, always trying to learn and always trying to be better. So the fact that we've been able to do it over the last two years, with the small squad that we've had hopefully we'll be able to add to it, like we have already, and be better."

Yet he admitted that the Hammers could've had a more gentle start to the new campaign! "Our first game of the season is Man City," he laughed. "The champions! Haaland, De Bruyne - I could reel off their whole team but I'm just going to say those two for now.

"It's going to be a hard game, but let's just hope that extra week [rest] we've had over them will give us that extra on the day."

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