Gareth Southgate has named his England squad to take on Hungary, Andorra and Poland in next month’s September internationals with Declan Rice included, as expected.
Rice is the Hammers only representative in the Three Lions squad, as he was during Euro 2020, but Chris Waddle believes that Michail Antonio should have been given a shot.
Antonio has understood to have pledged his allegiance to Jamaica after Southgate has overlooked the West Ham striker since calling him up in 2017.
The 31-year-old was named in two England squads, first by Sam Allardyce and then Southgate, but did not win a Three Lions cap after being an unused substitute against Slovakia in 2016 and being forced to withdraw injured the following year.
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Since then, Antonio has reinvented himself as a striker and with no England call coming his way, is expected to turn out for Jamaica, the country of his parent’s birth, having received a Jamaican passport and all the relevant documentation.
However, former England international Waddle has reiterated his stance that Antonio is worthy of an England call-up: “I tried to say he [Antonio] would’ve been a good addition for the Euros but nobody really listened to that.,” Waddle told SpaceCasino.
“He’s something different. I know he’s 31 but he’s fit and his confidence is sky high.”
Antonio’s England chances appear to have passed with Patrick Bamford the latest striker to be called up ahead of the West Ham player.
The Hammer may have to wait to make his Jamaica debut after the Premier League decided not to release players for international duty should they face a mandatory ten-day quarantine on arrival back in the UK.
With West Ham facing a hectic September, Antonio’s lack of international football could be key in keeping him fit and firing for the Hammers, something Waddle believes is vital to their chances of success this season.
“A team that’s started great is West Ham but I don’t think the squad’s big enough,” Waddle added. “They had a great season last year and I’m sure David Moyes will think he needs a centre forward to back up Antonio. But if they don’t get injuries they could be a surprise package.”
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West Ham are yet to bring in a striker this transfer window but a deal for Kurt Zouma is close to completion with football.london understanding that he has passed his medical ahead of a £25.7 million move.
Whilst Zouma will not solve the Hammers problems up front, he will add much needed depth to the squad and European experience ahead of West Ham’s Europa League campaign.