Michaiel Antonio must prove to West Ham that he is worth a new contract, according to Noel Whelan.
The £70,000-a-week forward [Spotrac] is currently sidelined with a hamstring injury, and the BBC Radio Leeds pundit believes that he has some work to do to prove he can be part of the Hammers’ future.
Speaking to Football Insider, he said: “He still has 18 months plus on his deal, and that’s a long time to prove to the club that he’s worth a new contract, it’s all about earning it, what you’ve done in the past is one thing, but it’s whether you can be part of the next generation who could take the club forward.
“I’m sure he’s on a lot of money, will he be worth it for West Ham? Only if he puts in the performances, is consistent week-in-week-out and is someone they can’t afford to let go, he has got to prove that to them.”
Does Antonio deserve a new deal? If it wasn’t for his injury record in recent times, then it would be an absolute no-brainer. Prior to his injury back in September, Antonio had averaged 3.6 shots on goals per 90 minutes, as well as 2.1 successful dribbles, 1.4 key passes, and 3.6 aerial duels won too, as per Whoscored. In short, he is a dynamic and well-rounded attacking force, and even if he isn’t starting every week, he can still be a real asset. The only issue could be that hamstring, combined with the fact that Antonio is quickly approaching 30. That being said, on the balance of things, it would feel incredibly harsh if he wasn’t handed a new deal by the Irons.