Darren Bent has urged David Moyes to snub the chance to bring Michail Antonio back into the West Ham starting XI against Sheffield United.
The former Tottenham and England striker, speaking exclusively to Football Insider assistant editor Russell Edge, has insisted the Irons cannot take a risk on playing the 30-year-old after his recent hamstring injury.
Speaking at his pre-match press conference, Moyes revealed Antonio had returned to training but admitted he was uncertain whether the forward would be ready to take on the Blades on Sunday.
🗞 TEAM NEWS
Antonio: "Back training and we’ve got a couple of days yet to see how he is. The truth is I can’t give you a complete answer, but he’s getting much closer that’s for sure."
Ogbonna: “Had a problem at the start of the week, but we think he’s fine now."#SHUWHU
— West Ham United (@WestHam) November 20, 2020
The former Nottingham Forest star missed the 2-1 defeat to Liverpool and the 1-0 win over Fulham before the international break.
However, Bent has urged Moyes not to roll the dice and suggested he could leave Antonio out for one more week if he was not fully fit.
“The last thing you want to do with any player with a hamstring injury is to take a risk but when you’re talking about somebody who’s as vital to West Ham as he is, you definitely don’t want to do that,” Bent told Football Insider.
“Haller stepped in while he’s been out and not really done anything. It’s completely night and day, you know exactly what you’re going get from Antonio so, for me personally, I would probably not risk it for one more game.
“I’d rather be safe and lose him for one game and have him for the rest of the season, potentially, rather than risk him for this one game, him having another injury and them miss the next six, seven weeks.
“For me I would be reluctant to even put him on the bench – maybe pull him back a little bit. I think they’ve got enough in this team to beat Sheffield United, I’d probably hold him back a little bit, give him a little bit more time to recover, another week maybe, and then let him go.”
In other West Ham news, the Irons have been tipped to replace Declan Rice with Celtic and Rangers target.