By Alex Taylor
West Ham ace Michail Antonio has described the moment he found out he had been given an England call up, thinking he was the victim of “good banter”.
New boss Sam Allardyce named his first squad as England manager on Sunday and included West Ham winger Antonio, as the nation prepares to take on Slovakia in a World Cup Qualifier.
West Ham fans have already been laughing at the call-up after Antonio arrived at Engand’s training base, St George’s Park, holding a couple of carrier bags from the West Ham club shop.
“As I walked into the changing rooms the physio pulled me aside and said ‘you’ve been called up’,” Antonio told the BBC. “I said ‘good banter good banter, thanks for cheering me up’. He replied ‘no seriously’, so I stared at him for a good 30 seconds and it was very awkward.
“As he looked at me seriously I just started welling up. I went off to call my misses, obviously she didn’t pick up, so I sat on my own in the changing room for a bit and started thinking about things.”
Antonio was considered unlucky to be left out of the Three Lions squad for the European Championships this summer, but will now have his chance to impress in the build up to the 2018 World Cup.
The right-back, who can also play as an attacking right-sided player, scored 11 goals and provided five assists in 33 games in all competitions for West Ham last season.
The 26-year-old has become well known for his intelligent play, good feet and strength at the far post, in his time in east London.