West Ham winger Michail Antonio has said he would have become a PE teacher if he hadn’t made it as a professional player.
The 26 year old started out his career at non-league side Tooting & Mitcham before making the switch to league football with Reading in 2008. He then learned his trade playing out on loan at five different clubs, playing at every level in the Football League, and talking to FourFourTwo, Antonio explained how his own self-belief got him his move into the professional game:
“I always believed in it, though, and I said it with authority: ‘I am going to be a pro’… and if I don’t, then I’m going to be a PE teacher! But I kept saying it. I got to 17 and thought, ‘It could be a bit late, but if it happens, it happens. I’m going to keep pushing, doing what I’m doing.’ Six games in for Tooting & Mitcham I signed for Reading.”
Antonio only left Reading in 2012 but had built up his reputation playing on loan at Southampton and Sheffield Wednesday. He then joined the Owls permanently before leaving for Nottingham Forest in 2014.
His performances in the Championship brought him to the attention of the Hammers, and by the age of 25, he had finally completed his seven year journey from the amateur ranks to the top flight. Even though he has now been called up by England twice, he is yet to play for his country, with injury ruling him out of the upcoming matches against Germany and Lithuania