Michail Antonio delivered his verdict on West Ham teammate Albian Ajeti and it seems expectations about the impact the 22-year-old can have this season should be lowered.
The Hammers signed Ajeti for £8million from Swiss side Basel in the summer, as per the BBC, after he racked up a very impressive 15 goals in 35 games last season, however, he hasn’t been utilised much by Manuel Pellegrini thus far.
Ajeti has only featured twice for the Hammers, both his appearances have come in the League Cup, so it’s hard to know how good he is.
The 22-year-old only managed to touch the ball 30 times in the 4-0 loss to Oxford United, as per WhoScored, so didn’t exactly get the service needed to show what he could do, and actually only touched the ball 29 times in the 2-0 win over Newport County with him clearly adjusting to the physical demands of English football. (Source: WhoScored)
Yet as it stands, the Hammers forward is the first-choice cover for Sebastien Haller as he is the only other recognised centre-forward in Pellegrini’s squad. (Source: Transfermarkt)
So in reality, most West Ham fans are expecting Ajeti to be good enough to feature for the first-team as he is not exactly miles down the pecking order, however, Antonio’s verdict surely suggests expectations needed to be lowered.
The Hammers winger explained that he thought his new teammate still has a little bit to learn and while there was something about him, he’s more of a player for the future.
“Yea he is settling in well, erm I feel like he has a little bit to learn…,” said Antonio on BBC Radio 5 Live (20:25, Friday, October 4th).
“But he’s definitely in there…a goalscorer, left foot, right foot, he can hit the back of the net.
“He’s definitely someone for the future rather than anything now, but he’s definitely got the quality to do something.”
Given that Antonio has seen Ajeti up close and personal in training, then it’s hard not to trust his opinion on his teammate as after being at West Ham for many moons, he knows the level you need to be at to succeed.
So for him to almost dismiss the idea that the forward can make an impact this season, everyone should surely lower than expectations for him.