Date: 3rd September 2019 at 3:47pm
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OPINION

Many may have questioned Manuel Pellegrini’s decision to start many senior players against in the Carabao Cup recently.

Those questions would have become even louder when popular forward was forced off the field with a hamstring injury at Rodney Parade, which has later been confirmed to be as serious as initially thought.

The Hammers may have won the game 2-0 and progressed but the question remains as to whether or not it was necessary for Pellegrini to pick Antonio after his involvement coming off the bench against Watford.

Claret and Hugh confirmed on their website on Tuesday that Antonio needs to undergo surgery on a grade three hamstring injury after scans revealed serious damage.

The club source reported that Antonio is most likely expected to be out until February with the injury, which is the third hamstring problem he has had since joining the Hammers.

The 29-year-old has established himself as a key player at in the past three years, playing in a number of different positions including striker.

Completing four seasons in the , Antonio has been involved in 10 or more goals for three of those campaigns, finishing the most recent season with six goals and four assists under Pellegrini.

Antonio had only started one game at the beginning of this season, with two appearances off the bench – failing to open his account so far.

The 29-year-old has averaged 1.7 shots on goal so far, also winning the same amount of his aerial battles according to WhoScored.

Antonio’s absence alongside the decision to sanction the exit of Javier Hernandez will leave Pellegrini with only Albian Ajeti and to choose from in the next five months.

The latest setback for Antonio will give West Ham a big selection headache for half of the Premier League season, with Pellegrini surely counting down the days already.