Wednesday, August 31

Daily WHUFC News - 31st August 2016

Masuaku – The intensity of games is incredible

Left-back is enjoying his first few games as a West Ham United player
Masuaku set up Michail Antonio's goal in Sunday's Premier League game at Manchester City
Defender believes returnees will boost the squad after the international break

Arthur Masuaku is enjoying the intensity and competitiveness of England's top flight. The French defender has impressed on his opening three West Ham United appearances at Chelsea and Manchester City and at home to AFC Bournemouth, showing commitment, athleticism and registering his maiden assist at the Etihad Stadium. After winning his maiden home game and twice tasting defeat on the road, the summer signing from Olympiacos expects Slaven Bilic's to return to winning ways against Watford when a number of regulars return from injury after the international break. "It hasn't been an easy start to the season going to Chelsea and Manchester City and we are disappointed not to have qualified for the next round of the Europa League too," said the No26. "We will now focus all of our concentration on the league and the cup and hope to do well in these. "We have quite a few players out injured at the moment, but I think we still need to be able to perform without them. It is always going to be more difficult without them though. "Our objectives remain the same, we go out in every game to win. We will recover during the international break and we will do our best to win our next match."

The former Valenciennes player won back-to-back Greek Super League titles in his two seasons with Olympiacos, where he lost just five league matches in two seasons, and was delighted when West Ham moved to bring him to east London. Having lost out to two of the Premier League's title favourites in his first three appearances, Masuaku could be forgiven for questioning his decision, but instead he is relishing the opportunity to test himself against the best. "I feel great to be playing in the Premier League and to have started well. It has always been one of my goals in football to play in this league. Now I am here, I am working hard and giving my all so that I can play in as many games as possible. "The intensity of games is different in the Premier League. The intensity of games is incredible, we got back to 2-1 against City and I thought we could have got the equaliser. Unfortunately, we lost 3-1 after a late goal. "It is this type of football that I like and it is a pleasure for me to be playing each weekend in games like this."

The Insider

With just over 24 hours to go until the transfer window closes for another summer, excitement is growing among football fans up and down the country. West Ham United fans have certainly enjoyed a busy summer of transfer activity with 11 new arrivals including the major capture of Simone Zaza from Juventus over the weekend. I have been told the Italy international is relishing the chance to meet up with his new team-mates this week and will be working hard at the Club's training ground over the international break to get himself fully ready for the next Premier League game against Watford on 10 September. Reports in the media continue to speculate there could be even more incomings at the Hammers before the window closes. My sources have confirmed to me that the Club are still working on trying to sign another right back on loan with an option to buy. It is my understanding that the business for the summer should stop after that, BUT I have been told never say never and the Club will always be open to an exciting late offer. With regards players leaving, it has been made clear to me that that the Club will never talk about individuals. But they are considering letting a fringe attacking player go as they are well stocked in that area with the imminent return of Dimitri Payet and new signing Sofiane Feghouli after the break.

The views in this article are those of the author and not necessarily those of West Ham United

We All Follow The West Ham!

True Blood actor Stephen Moyer is an avid West Ham United fan, despite now being based five-and-a-half thousand miles from east London in Los Angeles. He is currently back in London filming for a new ITV series and cannot wait to see his beloved Hammers in action at London Stadium…

I was born in Brentwood, but my great-grandmother was born on Green Street, so it's been five generations of Hammers in my family. My granddad on the other side was just round the corner too, so it's both sides of the family my whole life. I started going to Upton Park with my old man when I was six, and I'm a Season Ticket Holder for when I'm in England. My son Billy goes with mates when I'm not around in Los Angeles, but I'm very excited because I'm coming over to do a job for ITV for two months from August, so I'll be at the new Stadium for the first two months of games, which is just awesome. I can't wait for it. I'm based in the States, so I was so excited to be able to come down to Cary in North Carolina to watch the team train when they were over on their summer tour. I was filming in Charlotte the night we played Carolina RailHawks, which was two-and-a-half hours away, so I couldn't make it to the match, but I got in contact with Mark Noble and asked him if I could come and watch some training. It was arranged and the chance to be there was amazing for me. It's absolutely ridiculous to think I was at the training session by personal invitation from the skipper Mark Noble! He started following me on Twitter about a year ago. I was already following him, so we direct messaged each other and there I was. I mention West Ham over here whenever I'm asked about them, and I go crazy about it. I find it very difficult to say the word 'soccer' so you spent most of the interviews explaining why it's called football, and why theirs is called football wrongly. I call theirs throwball just to upset them, but I do get some mention in. My character in True Blood was from the 1870s, so he wouldn't have been talking about West Ham – he'd have been a clairvoyant if he had been! But I do aim to get it in there when I can. The coverage here is absolutely fantastic now, because NBC bought the rights to the Premier League. It works out better for people in LA with the time difference, because it's 7am for the 3pm kick-offs and I've got kids, so I'm up with them. The big screen has West Ham playing, and then the computer through NBC Sports has one of the other teams playing and my iPad has another game on. NBC have changed the game over here, and it's getting bigger and bigger in America. In terms of the other well-known fans the Club has out here, I know Russell Brand a little bit, so I've spoken to him in LA and seen some games with him. I think the first West Ham game I went to was in 1976, when we played Aston Villa. If I remember rightly, we lost 4-1. Then, then my son Billy was about six or seven when I took him for the first time in 2008. It was a 3-1 loss against Bolton, so that obviously boded well because both of us saw defeats in our first games! Big Sam always seemed to beat us when he was at Bolton so he obviously knew something. We had such a good season last year to sign off at Upton Park and I'm so excited for where the Club is going. I'm so excited for the Stadium, Super Slav has just galvanised us and made us believe too. More than anything he has made us believe that we can do it, and Mark Noble is such a talisman, such a shaman in the middle there running ten miles per game. His fitness level is just bananas. I think me and a lot of other people felt he should have been in the England midfield this summer. I felt Michail Antonio should have had a go, and Aaron Cresswell should have had a go too. We were quite spoilt up front, but I really felt Antonio flying down that wing would have been a really good addition. The future at West Ham is incredibly exciting and I'm really looking forward to my first games at our new home.

FT - Coventry City 4-2 West Ham United

FT: Coventry City 4-2 West Ham United

FT: And that's it at the Ricoh Arena. The Hammers did themselves proud and fought until the bitter end. Another double for Toni Martinez is a huge positive for Terry Westley's men. It was always going to a tough way to open your Checkatrade Trophy campaign, here at League One side Coventry, but they'll be better for the experience. Onto the next one. Over and out from the west Midlands.

90+1: GOAL! Toni Martinez is on the scoresheet again, volleying home a marvellous volley from the edge of the box! What an effort by the Spaniard!

90: The fourth official indicates there will be four minutes of additional time to be played.

88: Sending off for Coventry! Kelly-Evans is given his marching orders for a second bookable offence after a foul on Marcus Browne.

88: Wycombe Wanderers lead Northampton Town 2-0 away from home in the other Southern Area Group D fixture.

84: Chance for sub Jaanai Gordon! The striker is released by Browne and, being charged down by the keeper, gets a shot away. Burge in goal is on hand to make the stop though, and it remains 4-1.

81: Into the last ten minutes in Coventry, and Spiegel is on hand to deny the hosts again. Jodi Jones takes down a long ball beautifully, but the keeper denies him from close range.

78: Grady Diangana has put in a shift tonight as usual. Off he comes and Jaanai Gordon comes on.

75: And there's a fourth for the hosts. Turnbull gets his second, beating Spiegel to a free-kick and heading home. That looks like it could be game, set and match at the Ricoh Arena.

73: Goal for Coventry. Jordan Willis smashes into an empty net after Spiegel's save falls straight to him inside the six yard box. It was Tudgay's header which forced the initial save.

72: Marcus Tudgay's been around in the Football League - he replaces Lameiras.

70: But the Hammers are doing their best to threaten the hosts, and a terrific Eggleton delivery gives them a chance from a corner. Grady Diangana swins it in and Rice wins the first header, but Martinez can't steer anything towards goal. A chance for West Ham!

69: From an almost identical position to his shot minutes ago, Lameiras lets fly again and Spiegel is again behind it. Coventry are on the front foot here.

65: Alfie Lewis is the next to be replaced as Jake Eggleton comes on at right-back with Noha Sylvestre moving into midfield. Coventry's Marvin Sordell, who has been lively, comes off and Jodi Jones takes to the field.

62: And the Hammers make their first change, with Domingos Quina making way for Joe Powell.

61: Sub for Coventry, as Chris McCann is replaced by Ben Stevenson.

59: Spiegel is again down smartly to deny City, as this time goalscorer Lameiras shoots from outside the edge of the D. Decent save from the Swiss stopper.

57: The attacks have died down somewhat since Coventry took the lead. Tony Mowbray's men look as if they are happy to keep the ball and let West Ham press them at the back. It's going to take a big effort from Terry Westley's men to get back in this. They've got it in them though, that's for sure!

54: Marcus Browne charges down the left-hand-side and dashes into the box, falling after perhaps losing his balance. That's what it looked like from the press box anyway, but referee Keith Strouds decides otherwise and books the forward for simulation.

51: An extremely late challenge from Dion Kelly-Evans on Vash Neufville causes a heated confrontation. The referee puts Kelly-Evans into the book, but Vash receives the same treatment. Harsh on the left-back after a nasty tackle.

48: Goal for Coventry. The ball is worked out to the left hand side of the box and Ruben Lameiras steers home cleverly with the instep of his left foot. The League One side lead.

47: Superb work by Rapha Spiegel! Racing off his line, the keeper dives bravely at the feet of Dan Agyei and pushes the ball to safety.

46: Keith Stroud gets us back underway and the Hammers win an early free-kick. It's taken quickly and the visitors work an opening down the right. It's quickly shut-out and the move restarts from the back.

HT: The two minutes of injury time are played out and it's level at the break. The Hammers took the lead after just over half an hour and will have been disappointed to concede just minutes later, but it's been a solid, impressive performance nonetheless against the League One outfit. Can the youngsters find a way back in front in the second period?

45: McCann hits another long-ranger, and it's well blocked. Corner for City, which Martinez smashes up field for Quina to chase. Half time is approaching.

41: Defended well by West Ham and Spiegel can clear. Both sides would take going into the break level now, I'd imagine.

40: McCann strikes from 20 yards but Spiegel is equal to his effort, tipping it round his post. Corner kick...

38: A frustrating lapse of concentration at the back for the Hammers means it's all square. Martinez worked so hard for that opener, so they'll be keen to make amends and regain the lead.

35: Goal for City. Jordan Turnbull finds some space from a Coventry corner and fires into the top corner, leaving Spiegel with no chance. We're all level at the Ricoh with all to play for.

31: GOALLLL! Get in there! Toni Martinez pokes past the keeper at the second time of asking - he never gave up on that one! A group of loyal Hammers away to our right celebrate with the players and the visitors have the lead!

30: Browne continues to cause Coventry problems and Chris McCann is booked for tugging back the forward's shirt. Great stuff by Browne who recently made his first team debut!

28: Moses Makasi gets a last-ditch toe to the ball to almost poke Martinez in on goal, but City defender Turnbull comes across to make the challenge. The attack looked promising for Terry Westley's men.

24: Coventry might be sitting 22nd currently in League One, but experienced boss Tony Mowbray has a well-drilled side full of EFL know-how. The Hammers are more than just holding their own here, which is impressive.

23: Free-kick for West Ham which Marcus Browne stands over, but his right-footed attempt canons off the wall and is cleared. The Hammers continue to hold their own and look dangerous here at the Ricoh!

21: Decent chance for Toni Martinez, who beats the offside trap to get in behind the City defence, but the hosts scramble back to take the sting out his attempt.

19: Superb block from Vashon Neufville who gets on the line to deny Lameiras with Raphael Spiegel beaten. Excellent work from the returning left-back!

17: A Coventry free-kick on the right is taken by Ryan Haynes, and his square pass finds Marvin Sordell. The former Bolton man can't direct his effort goalwards however, and the Hammers clear the danger.

16: It's goalless here at the Ricoh after a quarter of an hour, and such is the case at Sixfields where Northampton entertain Wycombe Wanderers in the other Southern Group D match in the Checkatrade Trophy.

12: Little threat going forward for either side so far, but the Hammers look determined to keep playing their football against an EFL side.

9: Dan Agyei breaks for City but skipper Declan Rice comes across to make a fantastic interception. Reliable as usual from the 17-year-old!

7: Good early stuff from the Hammers who have so far looked sharper and faster than their League One opponents. Marcus Browne, who has been superb for the PL2 squad this season, is again looking to get on the ball early.

4: Early save from Raphael Spiegel, who dives superbly to his right to deny Coventry's Gael Bigirimana. The midfielder actually faced this Hammers side last week as part of Newcastle United's side!

3: With Tunji Akinola picking up that knock during the warm-up, the Hammers are forced into a slight re-shuffle. Alfie Lewis slots in alongisde Moses Makasi in CM and Noha Sylvestre has gone in to play RB with Alex Pike next to Declan Rice in the centre of defence.

1: We're underway at the Ricoh Arena! The Hammers are wearing their normal Claret and Blue with the hosts in Sky Blue and White this evening. Lewis Page, on loan at City from West Ham, is unable to take part tonight.

7:45pm: The lads are in the tunnel here at the Ricoh ready for kick-off. There has been a late change to the West Ham starting XI, with Alfie Lewis coming in to replace Tunji Akinola. Come on your Irons!

7pm: So, time to have a quick check of this competition's new rules. All Premier League sides entered into this competition must field a total of at least six U21 players in their starting line up (West Ham have ten, while Raphael Spiegel is 23), while Football League teams must include five 'first team' players. Tonight is the first group stage matchday, and points are allocated as league points would be. However, should tonight's match finish as a draw, a penalty shootuout will take place, with the winning side being awarded an extra point. Bring it on!

Coventry City: Burge, Willis, Harries, Turnbull, Kelly-Evans, Haynes, McCann (Stevenson 61), Bigirimana, Lameiras (Tudgay 72), Sordell (Jones 65), Agyei.

Subs not used: Charles-Cook, Finch, Ricketts, Thomas.

Goals: Turnbull 35, Lameiras 48

Bookings: McCann 30, Kelly-Evans 51, 88

Red cards: Kelly-Evans 88

West Ham United: Spiegel, Pike, Lewis (Eggleton 65), Rice, Neufville, Makasi, Sylvestre, Diangana (Gordon 78), Browne, Quina (Powell 62), Martinez.

Subs not used: Hector-Ingram, Trott, Kemp, Akinola.

Goals: Martinez 32, 90+1

Bookings: Lewis 43, Neufville 51, Browne 54

Attendance: 2,091 (98 away)

6:45pm: Good evening! We're at the Ricoh Arena tonight for the Hammers' first ever Checkatrade Trophy fixture against Coventry City. The newly-formatted competition has seen the east Londoners drawn in a group with Northampton and Wycombe Wanderers as well as the Sky Blues, and the midlands is the first destination this evening. Soon, we'll have for you team news, as well as a run-down of this year's rules...

Accrington tickets start at just £10

Tickets are now on sale for West Ham United's first domestic cup tie under the lights at London Stadium.

The Hammers will take on Accrington Stanley of Sky Bet League Two in the third round of the EFL Cup on Wednesday 21 September and you can be there to cheer us on!

Tickets start at just £10 adults and £5 under-16s - again underlining the Club's commitment to affordable family football.

Secure your seat now as the Hammers look to kick off a cup run at their new home.

Purchase your tickets online here, over the telephone on 0871 529 1966* or in person from the Stadium Ticket Office.

Full pricing and sale information is as follows:

1966 seating: £25 adults/under-21s/over-65s, £25 under-16s
Band one: £20 adults/under-21s/over-65s, £5 under-16s
Band two: £20 adults/under-21s/over-65s, £5 under-16s
Band three: £15 adults/under-21s/over-65s, £5 under-16s
Band four: £15 adults/under-21s/over-65s, £5 under-16s
Band five: £10 adults/under-21s/over-65s, £5 under-16s

Sale dates:

Season Ticket Holders/Bond Holders: On sale now
Claret Members: Tuesday 6 September
General Sale: Thursday 8 September

The Big Interview - Michail Antonio

It has been a memorable 48 hours for Michail Antonio after he received his first call-up to the England squad for the European Championship Qualifier against Slovakia on Sunday.

Antonio has been one of the star performers for West Ham United in the opening part of the season and has already scored two goals against Bournemouth and Manchester City in the Premier League.

The 26-year-old has been rewarded with a place in Sam Allardyce's first England squad and he is now keen to showcase his talents on the international stage....

How much have you enjoyed linking up with the England squad following your first call-up into the senior squad?

MA: "I've settled in quite well and the boys have taken to me really well. It is just nerve-wracking a little bit because I didn't expect this so early in my Premier League career.

"I'm definitely looking forward to it. It has been very emotional, especially when I found out.

"It has always been a boyhood dream for me to play for England and the opportunity to be called up is breathtaking."

We have seen stories that you thought the England call-up was a wind-up when you first heard the news. How long did it take before you came to terms with the first call-up?

MA: "I did an interview at the end of the game and I came in and the physio went over to me and said 'you've been called up.'

"I said 'Ha, funny'. He said 'No, seriously.' I said 'good banter' but I looked at him for a good 30 seconds and he looked at me.

"I wasn't sure I could take him seriously but he showed me a piece of paper (confirming the call-up) and after that I started welling up inside. All I wanted to do was call my missus. Obviously she didn't pick up!"

Have you had a chance to talk with the new England manager Sam Allardyce about your call-up and what do you hope to achieve this week?

MA: "When I first came and spoke to the gaffer I said I was very grateful for the opportunity, he said 'there is no need to be grateful and that if you look at your stats and what you have done, you deserve to be here'.

"But obviously I'm very grateful and I just believe that I need to make him proud and show everyone out there that I have got the ability and I can do it."

What were those early days like playing non-league football and being a lifeguard at the same time?

MA: "When I was playing non-league I also had to work because you don't earn the same wages that you do playing in the Premier League.

"I was also a lifeguard and had to do an hour a night my community college. It was probably one of the most boring jobs I have ever done in my life and it was so hot!

"I have got 26 nieces and nephews and it is good to show them you can always do anything if you put your mind to it."

Sam Allardyce has already said that he has been very impressed with your background and the fact you have come from non-league and have done well in all the leagues you have played in. How much pride do you take in the football journey you have made?

MA: "To pick someone like me from my background, it is a risk but the gaffer has shown his belief in me and now I have got to show it to the world. One thing I have always believed in is to never give up.

"Always have belief in yourself that you can achieve things. Anything is possible in life. Once I reach one target, I always search for another and I went from non-league to Reading. I kept going out on loan because I wasn't getting much time at Reading.

"Then I went to Sheffield Wednesday and then Nottingham Forest and I managed to get to West Ham, where I always wanted to be - the Premier League. Then I said to myself 'become an international'. Now I've done that, I've got to set myself a new target now.|

What does it feel like to be part of something new under a new England manager?

MA: "It feels great to be in the first squad. I just want to get my head down and hopefully I can get my opportunity on Sunday and show everyone out there what I can do."

Did you watch the European Championship Finals during the summer and what did you make of the tournament?

MA: "I watched the Euros and have always watched England growing up.

"It was very disappointing but we have to focus on the future under a new England manager and picking people on merit. Hopefully we can do well on Sunday."

Can you sense that the players who were involved in the tournament are keen to make up for the disappointment they encountered during the summer?

MA: "It is a fresh start for everyone. It doesn't matter what you have done in the past and the players will go out and work hard.

"The players will want to work their way into the starting line-up."

What do you make so far of Sam Allardyce and what attributes can you bring to the England team?

MA: "I have never played under him but people I have spoken to have said he is very relaxed and hopefully I will get to know him more over the coming years.

"I hope I can keep doing what I have done in the Premier League and take it onto the international level."

Hammers team up with Thomas Cook Sport

West Ham United are delighted to announce that sports travel and accommodation specialists Thomas Cook Sport are to become an Official Match Breaks Supplier of the Club.

As part of the agreement Thomas Cook Sport will be offering Match Break packages to the Hammers' truly global fan base, including tickets to matches at the Club's fantastic new home, accommodation and match day programmes.

West Ham United's Vice-Chairman Karren Brady said, "We are delighted to be teaming up with Thomas Cook Sport as we enter such an exciting era for the Club.

"It's fantastic that our fans from all over world will have the opportunity to experience Match Breaks expertly organised by Thomas Cook Sport sampling the famous West Ham United atmosphere in our iconic new home on Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park."

Rob Slawson, Head of Thomas Cook Sport said: "We're delighted to be working closely with West Ham United on an amazing Match Breaks product. West Ham United are a truly global club and we look forward to creating and offering a special Match Breaks experience for the club's fan base."

Burke joins Wigan

West Ham United defender Reece Burke has joined Wigan Athletic on a season-long loan.

Burke only signed a new four-year contract with the Hammers last week, but he was keen to get more first-team football under his belt and is relishing the chance to test himself in the Championship.

The 19-year-old has played a major role in the Hammers pre-season campaign and produced an impressive display when he started the first leg of the Europa League tie against Astra Giurgiu in Romania.

But with a number of senior players including Winston Reid, James Collins and Angelo Ogbonna battling for a place at the heart of the West Ham defence, Burke wanted the chance to play regular first-team football this season.

The talented central-defender enjoyed a successful loan spell with League One side Bradford City last season and became a fans favourite after winning seven trophies at the end of season awards, which included the Player of the Year.

Burke travelled up to the north west Club this week and looks set to make his debut for Gary Caldwell's side when they face Sheffield Wednesday at Hillsborough on 10 September.

Everyone at the Club wishes Reece the best of luck at Wigan this season.


With 'deadline day' now approaching, the media merry-go-round is starting to gain pace, and with West Ham well known for their last-day activity, yet more links are starting to be drawn between the Irons and 'potential targets'. Today, this manifested itself in a claim by Dominic King of MailSport that West Ham were interested in Championship new-boys Aston Villa's Micah Richards. This link would seem plausible, as West Ham are in dire need of reinforcements at right back, and the former England international would be available at a cut-price. It also seems to fit in with the "Boleyn Insider's" intonation that we will be seeing a new right-sided defender arrive.

However, these rumours have now been categorically quashed by Jack Sullivan, son of owner, David. Though West Ham continue to search for a Right Back, it seems that Richards, who was sub-par by all accounts last season, is not seen as a viable solution.

However, a story that does seem to have legs is one linking the much-maligned Enner Valencia with Swansea.'s own source, ExWhuEmployee, has confirmed for us that Swansea have shown an interest in the Ecuadorian before and that his name featured during negotiations for the transfer of Andre Ayew. It remains to be seen whether a concrete bid will materialise, but it is becoming ever-clearer that the majority of West Ham fans feel that it would be in the best interests of all parties if a deal were to be struck with the South Wales club.

Swansea know they will have to work quickly if they are to secure Valencia, as they reportedly face competition from fellow Premier League outfits in Stoke and West Bromwich Albion, though interest from the aforementioned Aston Villa seems to have ceased in the wake of their fifteen-million-pound deal for Bristol City striker Jonathan Kodjia being confirmed.

Antonio: just a matter of time
Filed: Tuesday, 30th August 2016
By: Staff Writer

The chairman of Michail Antonio's former club Tooting and Mitcham United say that it was only "a matter of time" before he made the big time.

The 25-year-old received a call-up to Sam Allardyce's first England squad on Sunday to the delight (and perhaps a little surprise) of everyone involved with West Ham.

And Steve Adkins, chairman of Antonio's former non-league club - for whom he featured between 2003 and 2009 - was delighted to read about the West Ham winger's shock nod.

"It was really clear that he was special when he was a teenager here," Adkins told "There were scouts from the likes of Chelsea and Arsenal looking at him and we all knew it was a matter of when, not if, he would make it into the professional game.

"There was no ego, he is down-to-earth and even after he went through the professional steps he would come down to the club to do some personal training between seasons. When he helps the kids down here even now he is a natural.

"He is the guy next door and being a professional, with all that he has achieved, he has never changed."

FA charge for Aguero
Filed: Tuesday, 30th August 2016
By: Staff Writer

Manchester City's Sergio Aguero has been charged with violent conduct by the FA after he elbowed Winston Reid in the neck during last weekend's Premier League clash at The Etihad.

Central defender Reid was forced to retire after receiving the blow, which occurred with City 2-0 ahead. Pep Guardiola's side went on to win the game 3-1.

"Sergio Aguero has been charged for an alleged act of violent conduct which was not seen by the match officials but caught on video," read an FA statement.

"The Manchester City forward was involved in an incident with West Ham United's Winston Reid in the 76th minute of the game on Sunday. He has until 6pm on Wednesday 31 August to reply."

Referee Andre Marriner somehow failed to witness the foul despite standing no more than a few feet from where the incident took place.

The referee's failure to dismiss Ageuro was the second time already this season West Ham have had good reason to feel hard done by.

Chelsea's Diego Costa was similarly lucky to remain on the field despite deliberately raking Adrian's shin during the opening game of the season - an offence also withnessed by referee Anthony Taylor, but deemed to be within the scope of the laws of the game.

The FA confirmed that a review of the Aguero and Reid incident will be studied by a panel of "three former elite match officials".

"Each panel member will review the video footage independently of one another to determine whether they consider it a sending-off offence," added the statement. "For retrospective action to be taken, and an FA charge to follow, the

Reece Burke's on fire, your strikers are terrified
Filed: Tuesday, 30th August 2016
By: Staff Writer

Central defender Reece Burke has completed a move to Wigan Athletic on a season-long loan.

The 19-year-old defender, who has featured for Slaven Bilic's first team at both centre half and left back already this season cited Athletic manager Gary Caldwell as the main reason for his decision to opt for a move to the DW Stadium.

"There were a few Championship clubs interested in me but I wanted to move here because I believe it is the next step for me in my career," Burke told

"I've met Gary before and he's a great guy, so I am looking forward to getting started.I really liked what he said about the club and his vision for the team.

"I expect the Championship to be faster, quicker and stronger; it'll be another step on from League One, but what I did last year I hope to repeat here."

Burke, who proved to be a huge success whilst on loan at Bradford City last season maintained however that his long-term future remains at the Olympic Stadium with West Ham.

"West Ham want to keep me long-term just in case I do push on now and do well here," he added. "I'm a Wigan player now and I am glad that's sorted for this season.

Burke will team up alongside fellow West Ham Academy star (and friend) Kyle Knoyle and former Irons goalkeeper Jussi Jaaskelainen - plus the now-infamous Wigan striker Will Grieg, who became globally famous during Euro 16 because of this...

West Ham failed in £43m bid for Alexandre Lacazette this summer, insists Lyon chief
Alexandre Lacazette has also been heavily linked with Arsenal this summer
Arsenal had a bid for the France international rejected in July
The 25-year-old striker has earned 10 caps for France during his career
West Ham brought in Simone Zaza on season-long loan from Juventus
Transfer news: All the latest ahead of transfer deadline day
PUBLISHED: 13:05, 30 August 2016 | UPDATED: 13:45, 30 August 2016

West Ham failed with a bid of over £40m for Lyon striker Alexandre Lacazette this summer, the French club's president has said. A bid of €50m (£42.7m) was tabled by the Hammers, according to Jean-Michel Aulas. However Lyon refused the offer, Aulas told French broadcaster SFR Sport, just as he announced in July that Arsenal had seen a bid for the France international rejected. Lyon rejected a £42.7m bid made by West Ham for French striker Alexandre Lacazette Aulas said: 'We've refused an offer of €50million from West Ham for Alexandre Lacazette. We've even turned down more for him.' Lacazette, 25, has been a consistently productive goalscorer in France's Ligue 1 for the past three years, earning 10 caps for Les Bleus in that time. West Ham boss Slaven Bilic lost Andy Carroll to injury early this season and new signing Andre Ayew joined him on the sidelines after suffering a thigh blow. The club that moved into the London Stadium for the new campaign brought in another forward on Sunday when confirming the arrival of Italy international Simone Zaza on a season-long loan from Juventus.

West Ham transfer news: Hammers still want Wilfried Bony with Enner Valencia and Diafra Sakho to make way for Manchester City striker
Slaven Bilic eyes another striker after completing Simone Zaza signing at the weekend
Evening Standard

Strikers Diafra Sakho and Enner Valencia could still be on their way out of West Ham as the club look to bring in Wilfried Bony on loan from Manchester City. Senegalese international Sakho looked to be going to West Brom in a £16million deal earlier in the summer but failed a medical. West Brom remain desperate to improve their squad, however, and could come back with a cut-price offer before the transfer window closes tomorrow night. Sakho, who put in a transfer request earlier in the close season, is recovering from injury and has yet to figure in any of West Ham's matches although manager Slaven Bilic said: "He is our player and when he is ready, he will be playing for us." West Ham are also willing to listen to offers for Valencia but only if they seal a deal to sign Bony on loan, with Championship clubs Aston Villa and Norwich poised to make late bids for the Ecuadorian international.

By Blind Hammer 30 Aug 2016 at 08:00

After the Man City defeat Blind Hammer thinks Bilic needs a rest.

A feature of West ham's early season form is how tired and unfit the squad looks. This tiredness has extended not only to the players but has also included several recent reports that Slaven Bilic himself has looked exhausted.

I am not surprised. Last season he had to invest an enormous amount of effort into an emotionally demanding last season at Upton Park with all the drama for that this entailed. No sooner had the season finished he was instantly involved in early transfer negotiations for Nordtveit and Sofiane Feghouli. This started a summer transfer window which has been unusually unsettling with various targets relentlessly coming in and out of the West Ham talent radar.

Just when he could settle down for a relaxing couple of weeks Bilic was called in to provide expert punditry for ITV on the Euros in France. Whilst it might not seem like work sitting in a studio reflecting on football matches, You have to be mentally at the top of your game , aware that every utterance is heard judged and reflected upon by millions of football supporters. I imagine that during these Euro punditry cameos there was just as much adrenaline coursing around his system as there ever was during his playing days.

The Euros were not even finished before Bilic was off leading West Ham into a USA training camp and pre-season friendlies. From the USA he, and the squad, flew straight into another camp in Austria, travelled by a long coach journey to our first competitive Europa game in Croatia, before at last managing to fly back to the UK to prepare for a first match in the completely unfamiliar surroundings of the Olympic Stadium on August 4th.

Those of you who have started a job in a new office probably remember how tiring unfamiliarity can be until an environment becomes normal and predictable. Bilic had a double whammy to cope with though. Not only did he have to adjust to a new stadium but to a completely new Training Complex at Rush Green. It is impossible for outsiders to know conclusively, but annoying teething problems normally arise when any new facility is developed. I think it would be a miracle if using new facilities at the Stadium and the Training Ground did not hit any problems for Bilic and the team. We only have to reflect on the various teething problems we have experienced ourselves as supporters. The Stadium and new Training Ground will definitely help in the long term but Bilic and the team will have to inevitably adjust and settle down.

After the Europa tie at the London Stadium , Bilic had Barely time to draw breath before needing to organise for the Juventus game only three days later. 3 days after that he flew out to Rumania and manage during the Ostrra away Europa tie.

During all these games Bilic was assailed by injuries to key members of his squad, first Lanzini, then Cresswell, then Carroll all bit the dust. It was hardly surprising that both he and the team were already looking jaded by the Premiership opener against Chelsea. Ayew's injury instantly ranked up the pressure on Bilic before Payet also received an immediate injury. Sacko piled the pressure on Bilic with his sulks and lack of commitment to training as this meant that we had no experienced premiership quality strikers at the club.

Now the rigours of a Premiership season allied to cup competition can be countered for players by squad rotation. Some players, Carroll comes to mind, just have bodies which give out under the strain and a rest is compulsorily instated.

For Bilic though the pressure is mental rather than physical and it is the Manager's role, above all which cannot be rotated. This contains real risks for our season as the Manager's wellbeing and confidence is critical to the wellbeing and confidence of his squad. A jaded Manager will in all likelihood produce a jaded squad.

Bilic's skill, management and passion for West Ham are essential in determining how we will do this season. We need a man who is inspirational and at the top of his game. A man exhausted and strained will not be able to energise his team.

If I was in either Gold or Sullivan's shoes I would be ordering Bilic to a Croatian beach during this International Break. He should be ordered to only turn his hone on Wednesday to OK any last minute transfer deals.

Give the bloke a rest and we should reap the rewards in weeks to come.

We need to look after Bilic, not drive him into the ground.


David Griffith.

West Ham's Portuguese forward Domingos Quina is a potential England star
Jason Burt, chief football correspondent
29 AUGUST 2016 • 10:30PM

West Ham United's Europa League campaign this season ended in embarrassing disappointment but there may have been a very significant appearance in the first match the Premier League club played, away to the Slovenians of NK Domzale, at the beginning of August. Domingos Quina. Remember the name. West Ham lost the first leg – but won the tie before ignominiously going out last week to Astra Giurgiu – with Quina making his debut as an 80th-minute substitute. Quina replaced Michail Antonio and, like the versatile winger, who has just been called up into Sam Allardyce's squad, is already on England's radar as a player who could eventually be selected by them. Allardyce and the Football Association are strongly interested in exploring the eligibility of players who could qualify for England through residency and so on. Quina is an exceptional talent, a forward who can play as a No?10, and the former Benfica schoolboy has already represented Portugal at under-17 level, winning the recent European Championship in Azerbaijan with the country where he currently has citizenship having moved there from Guinea Bissau, on the west African coast, where he was born. But it is understood that playing for England may appeal to Quina – and the FA is aware of this – who arrived at West Ham during the summer, agreeing an initial two-year scholarship ahead of signing a professional contract when he turns 17 in November. No fee – and no agent's fee – was paid for Quina with his move a significant coup for West Ham for a highly-promising player who was previously training with Chelsea although he was not registered with their academy. Quina was also wanted by Arsenal and other leading European clubs but chose West Ham over more lucrative offers.

West Ham captain Mark Noble is unfazed by slow start: There's no need to panic
MARK NOBLE is refusing to press the panic button following West Ham's unimpressive start to the season.
PUBLISHED: 22:30, Mon, Aug 29, 2016

The Hammers have lost two of their first three Premier League games and crashed out of the Europa League. But Noble is confident that once their crippling injury list clears up­ and new loan striker Simona Zaza settles in - normal service will be resumed for Slaven Bilic's side. He said: "We had the same points tally [after three games] last season. We beat Arsenal away and then lost to Bournemouth and Leicester at home. We know we're a good team. "We've played Chelsea away and Manchester City away and won our home game. Are we expected to go to Chelsea and City and win without our best players? I'm not sure. "It's too early to judge us. We'll have a lot of our players back for our next game after the international break against Watford ­ Dimi [Payet] will be able to play. We will look a lot stronger then. "There's no point dwelling on losing to Manchester City away. A lot of teams will go to the Etihad and get beat. When we saw the first three fixtures, we wanted three, maybe four points. We've got three and now we go into our next game at home."

Noble welcomed the arrival of Zaza on loan for the season from Juventus. "Zaza is good business for us," he added. "We signed Andre Ayew, and in the first 20 minutes of the first game he's out for three months. You lose Cresswell in the last game of pre-season, Andy Carroll, Manu away with Argentina, Dimi had a slight thigh problem. So you start off with an uphill struggle, especially when your first game is away to Chelsea who have a new manager, new players. "Also not many teams are going to come to the Etihad and get anything, especially with the way City play. But we won our home game and that's what we need to do. We've got three points on the board which is what we had this time last year." Hammers, who won 2-1 at the Etihad Stadium last season, looked as if they would suffer a heavily defeat this time when they were 2-0 down after being outplayed by City in the first half. But Noble was encouraged by their battling performance after the break when new England recruit Mikhail Antonio put them back in the game. "We put a fight," said Noble. "We managed to give them a game. After the first 20 minutes, it looked like they were going to walk all over us. That wasn't the case. We had a go in the second half but they were a better team than us on the day. "You've got to be brave and have a go. We did that in the second half and managed to get a goal and had a couple of corners and chances. But in the end the pressure told on us and they got their third goal. "It was a totally different vibe from last year¹s game at the Etihad. I wouldn't say City didn't work hard in last season¹s game ­ of course they did ­but they've got that extra incentive now and are running around a bit more and looked a lot better team for that."

Michail Antonio's England call just reward for his hard work - says the man who paid £10,000 to turn him pro
22:30, 29 AUG 2016 UPDATED 23:04, 29 AUG 2016
The winger has worked his way from Tooting & Mitcham to the cusp of an England debut after being named in Sam Allardyce's first Three Lions' squad
The Mirror

The rise and rise of Michail Antonio: From Tooting to West Ham - Now England

Michail Antonio's England call-up is his reward for years of hard work according to one of the men who helped him on his way to the top - former Three Lions winger Steve Coppell. West Ham wideman Antonio, 26, was the surprise name in new Three Lions boss Sam Allardyce's first England squad. And his journey to the top is another Jamie Vardy-style fairytale from non-league football to international recognition. Antonio started out at Tooting & Mitcham before the manager of the South London side Billy Smith recommended him to his good friend and then Reading boss Steve Coppell. Smith, a renowned manager and talent spotter in the area, had previously alerted Coppell to the likes of non-league gems Ian Wright and Alan Pardew when he was in charge of Crystal Palace. After a successful Tooting & Mitcham trial, a teenage Antonio scored a hat-trick on his first-team debut and never looked back. Just four more first-team appearances later, Reading snapped him up for £10,000. Coppell, now head coach at Indian Super League side Kerala Blasters, said: "I went to watch him play probably a couple of times and he did have something different and it was always the difference that appealed to me with non-league players. "It would maybe sound wrong to say it now but there was something refreshingly naïve about him in terms of his attitude, his manner, his ability. "He had good ability, he was obviously very raw at that stage and we just decided to give him an opportunity and see what he could do with it. "He had pace, the ability to beat people and a determination which is still apparent now. "When the ball comes into the box he wants to get on the end of it and he has got an eye for goal. "I could tell he had something that would make him be better, that would progress him but I didn't know how far it would take him. "He had a willingness to learn from day one. He was a very quiet boy in those days. You didn't even know he was in the room but you got the impression that he was watching and learning all the time and since then he has just progressed and progressed. "It has not been an overnight success. He has had to work for everything he has achieved and this is another part of his process. "It wasn't as obvious (he could get to England level) perhaps as it was with Ian Wright. "When we eventually signed Ian Wright I did say to (Palace chairman) Ron Noades 'I know this sounds stupid but he has the ability to play for England.' "It wasn't so obvious with Michail but he had something which set him apart from other players at that level. "I saw it with Stan Collymore as well. Just a spark of originality, something that isn't the norm." Antonio had five different loan spells while at Reading and then made permanent moves to Sheffield Wednesday and Nottingham Forest before joining West Ham for £7million last summer. Coppell said: "He has taken a fairly circuitous route (to the top). He has kept knocking away and working at his trade. "That is always good to see. If something is dumped in somebodies lap and they haven't worked for it they don't appreciate it as much as the years work he has put in to get where he is. "And he has worked for it. We perhaps opened the door for him (at Reading) but he has come charging through with all his might and congratulations to him.
"I am delighted with how he has progressed over the years and very pleased that the raw talent we saw in those early years has been transferred into a potential England player. "He is not too conservative in the things he does, he still makes mistakes but again the thing that I have enjoyed seeing is his elevation. "He has got better with the elevation to West Ham and now with the elevation to England it is whether he can raise his game again and go on again because I'm sure he doesn't want to be a one call-up wonder. He will want to make sure he cements himself into the England setup."

West Ham made £43m bid for Alexandre Lacazette, claims Lyon president
WEST HAM lodged a £43m offer for Alexandre Lacazette, according to Lyon's president Michel Aulas.
PUBLISHED: 00:38, Tue, Aug 30, 2016 | UPDATED: 00:50, Tue, Aug 30, 2016

West Ham reportedly made a £43m bid for Alexandre Lacazette. The Hammers along with Arsenal were heavily linked with a move for the striker this summer. Lyon have repeatedly insisted the 25-year-old is not for sale. West Ham were thought to have made three bids, the last of which totalled £40m. Arsenal had been tracking his progress too, with Arsene Wenger desperate to plug his forward woes. But according to Lyon president Michel Aulas, West Ham made another bid for Lacazette. He told French broadcaster SFR Sport: "We rejected a bid from West Ham for £43m for Lacazette." Arsenal had been tracking his progress too, with Arsene Wenger at the time desperate to plug his forward woes. The Gunners are set to announce a deal for Deportivo La Coruna striker Lucas Perez.

Ayew to pay Ghana Stars airfare
by Gary Al-Smith 30 August 2016, 05:59

The friction between Ghana's sports ministry and Football Association has hit new heights with senior players now having to pay for their own air fares. Ahead of Ghana's last Afcon qualifier on Saturday, Sports Minister Nii Lante Vanderpuye has told the FA that there will be no money for the team should foreign-based players be invited. He argues that because the team has already booked a place at Gabon 2017, spending so much on flying players from Europe and elsewhere will simply be a huge waste of tax dollars. It is in this light that the team's deputy skipper, Andre "Dede" Ayew, has offered to purchase flight tickets for some of the 21 foreign-based members of Avram Grant's 23-man squad for the home game against Rwanda on September 3.
Sources tell that skipper Asamoah Gyan will also cater for some of the players. According to the FA's Deputy General Secretary, Ibrahim Saanie Daara, most of the players are ready to purchase their own tickets but the injured West Ham star has decided to fund the cost for players who are unable to do so. "The truth is that the players themselves in a massive show of patriotism have decided that they want to pay for their own tickets to come for the match," Daara said on Monday. "However, there are some players in the squad who are unable to afford the tickets and for that Andre Ayew has decided that he will pay for them to turn up for the game. "In this very last minute, it is impossible and if we don't honour the match Caf will ban us from the African Cup of Nations and we will be banned from the subsequent Cup of Nations in 2019."

On the minister's part, his stance is clear. "We have not officially communicated anything of the sort to the Ghana Football Association. By telephone communication I have told the Management Committee Chairman who is the vice president of the FA," Vanderpuye told Happy FM in Accra. "Yes, we don't have the money to finance this particular match but we will use the money to cater for the [national female under 17 team] Black Maidens and the national Paralympic team in Brazil."

Ghana's maidens, who are usually under-resourced, are getting ready for the Under 17 Women's World Cup in Jordan. The minister has argued that Grant should field a locally-based team against Rwanda for the chance to give the other national teams the best preparation as well. Vanderpuije also urged the GFA to pay for the tickets of the foreign-based players, although an official of the football governing body told Joy FM that this would not be possible. "The same ministry has borrowed so much money from us to pre-finance previous games and qualifiers," said Winfred Osei Kwaku, Vice Chairman of the Black Stars Management Committee. "And because of that we have not been paid, so at the moment we are not in a financial position to do as the minister suggests."

The ongoing friction between the two powerful bodies continues to bring tension into football administration at all levels in Ghana, and influential figures have been calling for a truce.

West Ham favourites to sign Jack Wilshere, followed by Crystal Palace
Dan Coombs

West Ham linked with swoop for Arsenal star. Arsenal midfielder Jack Wilshere is free to leave the club on a loan deal, report SkySports. The Gunners are content to allow the England midfielder to leave the club on a season long loan, after missing nearly the entire 2015/16 campaign with injury. SkyBet have released early odds on where Wilshere will land up, and West Ham are priced as favourites. Wilshere is listed at 4/1 to join the Hammers, with Crystal Palace following at 6/1. Swansea City and Watford are at 8/1, with Southampton at 10/1, and Bournemouth and Everton 12/1. Fortunately for Wilshere, no odds are being offered on the impossible prospect of joining Arsenal's bitter rivals Tottenham. Wilshere, 24, has had a disrupted start to the season after getting injured in pre-season, and was not included in Sam Allardyce's first England squad. The midfielder will be keen to join a club playing at a high level, but one where he can earn an England recall by playing regularly. After their exit last week, West Ham are unable to offer Wilshere Europa League football, but the chance to stay in London could be appealing to the Gunners star, and follow Carl Jenkinson's path - who spent two previous seasons on loan with the Hammers.

Michail Antonio is exceptional in the air and has a prodigious leap... the Secret Scout looks at new England star
I first watched Michail Antonio when he was at Sheffield Wednesday
Back then he lacked intelligence, and didn't always see the bigger picture
He has progressed quickly since, and has hit the ground running this year
His usefulness is in attacking areas rather than as a wing back
PUBLISHED: 22:31, 29 August 2016 | UPDATED: 23:48, 29 August 2016

Our scout is a top football expert who attends matches each week searching for the next star. Here's his view on England's new call-up. I first saw him at Sheffield Wednesday at a time when other clubs felt he was expendable. Then at Nottingham Forest he was the one player in a poor side who could convert the ball from front to back with speed and change the face of a game. I wasn't sure he had the necessary football 'intelligence' but his power caught the eye. The way he could brush past people was impressive but he didn't always see the bigger picture and his combination play could be lacking. Since then he has progressed quickly. Powerfully built, he is exceptional in the air and has a prodigious leap. Early on at West Ham, people at the club were not sure what they had signed but since being given the chance last season he has hit the ground running. His usefulness is in attacking areas rather than as a wing back or full back as he is not always aware enough of what is happening when possession is lost. England managers often select a 'new' player early on and I think it's wise that Sam Allardyce has chosen training sessions over a friendly this week. It means he can look at Antonio up close and decide if he fits, away from the public and media gaze. There are other players in the squad who have come through the leagues such as Jamie Vardy and Dele Alli so Antonio need not be overawed. Sam will no doubt be attracted to the damage this player's long throw can cause. He has always been good at playing the percentages and this is another example of an experienced manager knowing his mind.

Michail Antonio has gone from Tooting star to shooting star as he made the journey from non-League to England international
At 14, Michail Antonio could have signed for Tottenham but his mum, Cislyn, told him to focus on school
Spotted by a scout while having a kickabout, Antonio joined Tooting & Mitcham in 2002 as a youth player
Tooting sold him to Reading in 2008 for £25,000 and a 20 per cent sell-on fee
After being told he was moving to the Championship, Antonio bought boxes of chocolates for his coaches
Antonio still returns to Tooting to work with the youth players between seasons
PUBLISHED: 22:31, 29 August 2016 | UPDATED: 02:15, 30 August 2016

Wandsworth in south west London was a playground for Michail Antonio when he was growing up and the local park owner would chase him to get off his grass. For the record, Antonio was never caught. He has not stopped running since — his pace helping him to explode into the England squad. His selection by Sam Allardyce on Sunday came out of the blue and there is no clause in Antonio's contract to say he can expect an international bonus for the call-up — because nobody thought to ask for it. Just like Jamie Vardy, Antonio's story takes him from non-League to big league. And now the versatile defender/midfielder/forward will be rubbing shoulders with Vardy, Wayne Rooney, Harry Kane and England's other stars. Spotted by a scout while having a kickabout with friends, Antonio joined Tooting & Mitcham in 2002 as a youth player. On Monday his former club faced leaders Corinthian-Casuals away in the Ryman league South (they drew 3-3 in front of a crowd of 212 to consolidate 10th position) while Antonio turned up for the England camp. Currently, their most famous former players are Alex Stepney and Dario Gradi. Take a tour around Tooting's KNK Stadium and there is no sign that the semi-professional side gave Antonio his breakthrough. There are no photographs on the walls of the player who already this season has scored headed goals against Bournemouth and Manchester City, no signed shirts, no caps (yet). Tooting sold him to Reading in 2008 for £25,000 and a 20 per cent sell-on fee — a deal that came about on the basis of a friendship between Alan Pardew and then-Tooting boss Billy Smith. Smith, now 73 and still known as Sir Billy by Tooting staff, phoned Pardew to tell him about Antonio after Arsenal and Chelsea sent scouts to watch the winger. On Pardew's recommendation to his former club, Reading beat them to the transfer and after being told he was to be sold to a Championship club, Antonio celebrated by buying two boxes of chocolates. 'I told Alan about him and that's why they took him there,' Smith told Sportsmail on Monday. 'Alan played for me at Corinthian-Casuals. Michail bought me and my assistant George Wakeling a box of chocolates each because we sold him on. 'That was worth something special. He was not a lot different to what he is now. He was a powerful boy, very quick, and certainly good in the air.' By Antonio's own admission Ian Wright is his idol and the England international with 33 caps was another starlet found by Smith in 1985 after being spotted playing park football. 'Ian Wright was a Jack the Lad and Michail is a gentleman. Put it that way,' said Smith. 'I find Antonio a very quiet lad. I was telling people nearly a year ago that he will play for England. I wish I had put a bet on.' At the age of 14, Antonio could have signed for Tottenham but his mum, Cislyn, told him to concentrate on school. Instead, he stayed at Tooting and went on to score four goals in five appearances while also working as a lifeguard. He later joined them on loan again from Reading and scored six in seven. His love of football stood out at Earlsfield Primary School, where his former headteacher, Steve Trow, said Antonio always had to be the first one out of class and the last one in. 'As a student he really wasn't interested in a lot to be honest,' said Trow. 'It was football, football, football.' To this day, Antonio still calls his former head 'Mr Trow' because 'Steve' doesn't feel right, and respect is something that has stayed with him from non-League to Premier League. 'He still comes down to the club,' Steve Adkins, the owner of Tooting told Sportsmail. 'He comes between seasons to train with a personal trainer. 'We've got a few of his nephews and Michail has always got time to come down and mentor the kids. He respects his roots. 'It isn't just a 15-20 minute job. He stays for hours and makes sure every single group of kids gets some training with him. Then he teaches them his celebrations.' For those he is infamous, from tributes to The Simpsons to the American sitcom The Fresh Prince Air of Bel Air. Now he will be hoping he gets the chance to show them off on the international stage. Vardy became a non-League sensation and is to have a stand named after him by his first side, Stockbridge Park Steels. The same goes for N'Golo Kante at Boulogne. Time will tell if Antonio can get his name up at Tooting.

Michail Antonio admits he thought it was a joke when he was told about England call-up... before welling up when he realised it was true
Michail Antonio was included in Sam Allardyce's first England squad
Antonio was told the news by the West Ham physio
Winger at first refused to believe the news, thought it was 'good banter'
But after he realised it was true, he admits he 'started welling up'
PUBLISHED: 00:49, 30 August 2016 | UPDATED: 00:50, 30 August 2016

When Michail Antonio was named in Sam Allardyce's first England squad, not everyone could quite believe it - including the player himself. Antonio, whose rise from non-League only saw him play in the top flight for the first time last season, was given the news by a West Ham physio after their defeat by Manchester City, in which he scored. But the winger at first refused to believe the news, assuming that he was the butt of a joke. 'I've done an interview at the end of the game, then I've come in and the physio's come over to me and gone "you've been called up"', Antonio told England's Instagram account. 'I was like: "Haha, funny". He said: 'No, seriously" and I was like "Good banter! Haha!" 'And he's like: "No, no, seriously". So I've looked at him for about 30 seconds, he's looked at me, and I was like "I don't know if I can take you seriously". Once the news had sunk in, however, Antonio became emotional, immediately attempting to call partner to tell her the good news. 'He showed me the piece of paper,' Antonio continued, 'and after that, as soon as I found out that it was serious, then I started welling up, and all I wanted to do was call my missus. 'So I gave my missus a call, obviously she doesn't pick up. And then I just got myself mentally ready and waited for it to come out.' Antonio is now training with England ahead of a possible debut in the World Cup qualifier against Slovakia on Sunday.


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