By Tom Blackburn
Stan Collymore has backed Michail Antonio to become a key man in the England side after his international call-up.
Antonio was brought into the England squad for the first time by Sam Allardyce, and Collymore has backed the winger to be used in their World Cup qualifier against Slovakia on Sunday.
Intriguingly, the former Liverpool and Aston Villa striker has also backed Antonio to be used in the No10 position behind the main striker that was the preserve of the likes of Dele Alli and Wayne Rooney earlier this year.
“Michail Antonio ‘s England call-up has delighted me — this is a player who can become an English version of Antonio Valencia at his best if he keeps progressing,” he wrote in his Mirror column.
“He’s an incredible physical specimen, with loads of pace and ability. Also, he seems very humble.
“I wonder if, with a little tactical jiggery-pokery from new Three Lions boss Sam Allardyce, he couldn’t at some stage start playing off the frontman as aas well as operating down the right-hand side.
“Antonio (Michail, that is) has the trickery and physicality defenders hate.
“If I were Big Sam, I’d throw him straight into the team against Slovakia on Sunday and see how he gets on down the right, because it has been something of a problem position of late.”
The West Ham star caught the eye at West Ham last season, as the east London side finished seventh.
Antonio only joined the Hammers from Nottingham Forest in September 2015, having began his career in non-league football with Tooting and Mitcham United.
West Ham paid £8million last summer, and eight Premier League goals in 26 appearance led to many fans calling for Roy Hodgson to call him up to England’s Euro 2016 squad.
He was left out of the squad to travel to France, but the arrival of former West Ham boss Sam Allardyce has earned him a call up and he will be eager to impress two years before the 2018 World Cup in Russia.
In other West Ham news, this is how Luka Modric helped engineer their summer transfer.