Antonio has rediscovered his goal-scoring form at a crucial stage of the season, after previously finding the net once in 13 Premier League games, having now scored seven in his last eight top-flight matches.
His contract situation looms in the background, as the 30-year-old prepares to enter the final year of his current deal, and former striker Kevin Phillips has said he believes the forward has done enough to earn a new contract ay the London Stadium.
What did he say?
Speaking to Football Insider, Phillips said: “I think they will offer him a new contract but not an improved deal, as much as he has done well.
“Antonio is what he is. He is hard working but lacks that technical ability. What he lacks in that he makes up for in endeavour and hard work, but in the Premier League you need more than that.”
Versatility is the key
Few footballers are quite as resourceful as Antonio has been during his time with the Hammers. Since arriving in East London, the 30-year-old has been deployed as a wing back, as well as more natural wide midfielder and forward roles, and regardless of where he is utilised no one can fault Antonio’s commitment.
It is his versatility that makes West Ham’s top-scorer, on eight strikes, one of the most valuable members of their squad. Having the Englishman either available offers David Moyes tactical flexibility to change his system and see Antonio slot into numerous roles seamlessly.
Phillips’ suggestion that Antonio will get a new deal similar to his existing terms, believed to be around £70k a week, is reasonable and given that he recently turned 30, it would be brave of the Hammers’ hierarchy to offer the forward a bumper new deal. No matter what though, they should do their utmost to keep hold of the Englishman, as other clubs would almost certainly be interested in picking him up on a free transfer if he became available.
Along with Mark Noble and Declan Rice, Antonio is part of a core group of players who know precisely what it means to slip on the claret and blue shirt. Needless to say, he has stood up and been counted when this side found itself in crisis.
What he lacks in technique Antonio more than makes up for with alternative attributes, alone he may not be the answer up top, but he remains a vital part of the attacking unit for now.