Tue | Apr 20, 2021

Antonio still has England chance – Moyes - Striker’s club coach weighs in on potential Reggae Boyz switch

Published:Saturday | February 27, 2021 | 12:11 AMDaniel Wheeler/Staff Reporter
Antonio
Antonio

With West Ham United’s Michail Antonio reportedly on the verge of switching his international allegiance to Jamaica, manager David Moyes says that he still hopes that the 30-year-old striker will get his chance to represent England.

According to a report from the English newspaper The Telegraph on Thursday, the London-born Antonio, is set to accept the offer to play for the land of his parents’ birth, as he seeks to be a part of the Reggae Boyz’s 2022 World Cup qualifying campaign.

He was previously approached by the Jamaica Football Federation in 2016 but he turned down the offer at the time because he said he still had the desire to one day represent England.

NOT CLOSED YET

While he has been called up to the England team by managers Sam Allardyce and Gareth Southgate, Antonio has not managed to make an appearance for the ‘Three Lions’. He was forced to pull out of his most recent call in 2017 as he had suffered an injury.

However, in a BBC report yesterday, Moyes said that he hopes that Antonio does not think that the door to the England senior team has closed yet.

“I only found out about it yesterday and I’ve not had a direct conversation with Michail,” Moyes said. “I am still holding out he has a chance to get picked for England.”

However, while Moyes said that he had not discussed the matter fully with Antonio, he believes that should the opportunity be viable, he should accept the invitation.

“I wouldn’t say no to Jamaica, but I haven’t spoken to him about it,” Moyes said.

National senior team manager Roy Simpson, when contacted, said that talks were still ongoing with Antonio about the switch, but did not divulge additional details. Should the process be approved for his international switch, he would join a collection of English-born players that now play for Jamaica, which include Bobby Reid and Michael Hector both of Fulham and free agent Ravel Morrison, who made his international debut last November in the two-game international series against Saudi Arabia.

While Jamaica’s potential international assignment for the next window is yet to be determined, they are scheduled to participate in the 2021 Gold Cup tournament in July and the final round of the World Cup qualifiers, which begin in September.

Antonio’s form since Moyes arrived at West Ham has improved, with the striker scoring 15 goals in 33 matches. Despite a hamstring injury hampering his start to the 2020-21 season, he has gone on to score six goals and register three assists in 16 Premier League games this season.

West Ham are currently in fourth place in the table with 45 points from 25 games played. They travel to the Etihad Stadium to face league leaders Manchester City today.

daniel.wheeler@gleanerjm.com