West Ham attacker Michail Antonio was asked to declare his preferred position by Jermaine Jenas and didn’t hesitate to state that he saw himself as a right-winger.
The 29-year-old even stated that he was a right-winger first and foremost despite acknowledging that current first-choice option Andriy Yarmolenko was in fine-form.
“Right-wing, to be fair me and Yarma love each other,” said Antonio on BBC Radio 5 Live (Friday, October 4th, 20:27)
“I’m buzzing for him (over his form), he’s one of the nicest guys you’ll ever meet, and to be fair I’m a person where y’all always going to be fighting for your place, if it’s not him it’ll be someone else, so I’m just happy he is a nice guy.”
While Antonio didn’t duck Jenas’ question, he surely has taken a bit of gamble to publicly state his preferred position.
After all, Manuel Pellegrini has regularly thrown playing time the 29-year-old’s way due to being able to utilise him in different positions as Antonio has proven to be such a versatile player.
The Hammers winger made three league appearances this season before getting injured, and each game he featured in, saw him take up a different position.
According to Transfermarkt, Antonio was deployed on the left-wing against Manchester City, played as a centre-forward against Brighton and was on the right-wing
Also in his 2018/19 campaign, the Hammers man played six different positions across his 38 outings and aside from just moving across the frontline, actually played right-back for five games. (Source: Transfermarkt)
So when you bear that in mind, Antonio has taken a risk regarding his future playing time as Pellegrini may view the 29-year-old going public with his preferred position, as him not being keen on being deployed elsewhere in the team.
The Hammers boss will only want to play his players in positions they’re comfortable in and while Antonio has a fantastic attitude and will do a job if needs be, surely his remarks will make Pellegrini hesitant to play him elsewhere.
Also given that Yarmolenko has excelled at right-wing this season as he has scored three goals in six league appearances, as per WhoScored, and averaged a rating of 7.15 in the process, so it’s not like Antonio has an easy task of ousting the Ukranian from the team when fit.