Michael Brown has suggested David Moyes may snub Michail Antonio from the West Ham squad against Sheffield United to give him another week to recover from injury.
The former Spurs and Leeds midfielder, speaking exclusively to Football Insider assistant editor Russell Edge, believes the Irons should not feel under pressure to get their attacking talisman back after their decent run of form.
Speaking at his pre-match press conference, Moyes confirmed the 30-year-old was back in training after a hamstring injury but was cautious over a potential return to action for Sunday’s clash.
🗞 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
Antonio, who scored three goals in his opening six league games this term, missed the 2-1 defeat against Liverpool and the 1-0 win over Fulham prior to the international break.
Despite his return to training over the past two weeks, Brown has suggested Moyes could start him on the bench or even leave him out entirely on Sunday to ensure he is fully recovered from his injury layoff.
Brown told Football Insider: “It just depends on the loading and what he was like pre-international break. If he was back and he managed to get two weeks loading into him, then you’d say he’s fine.
“I think there’s any sort of risk or doubt, they won’t. I think there’s they’re going well, they’re not so much sort of pressure to actually make that decision. It’s just the risk to reward isn’t it on how they go, isn’t it?
“They might just think: ‘We’ll just put him on the bench’, or they might not take him at all. ‘Let’s give him another full week, we got a result last time out, we’ll protect him one more week, why take the risk now?’
“It’s maybe a three points they feel they can get at Sheffield United but Sheffield United will come on really strong in this game because they need a reaction.”