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“Whole package…” – West Ham striker Michail Antonio sings praise of Man United star



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Credit: Sky Sports

West Ham striker Michail Antonio has been full of praise for one Manchester United star after the Premier League clash between the two sides on the weekend.

Antonio, 33, was unavailable for The Hammers through injury but watched on as his team lost 3-0 against The Reds.

Rasmus Højlund opened the scoring with an excellent finish on his weak foot before Alejandro Garnacho’s second-half brace secured a comfortable victory for the hosts at Old Trafford.

The West Ham striker was on punditry duty for Sky Sports for the Monday Night Football clash between Manchester City and Brentford, and he discussed the abilities of fellow striker Højlund after he faced his side.

“To be fair, I liked what I saw at the beginning of the season,” Antonio began. “Obviously, you rate strikers on scoring goals, but it’s not about just scoring goals; it’s about what you bring as well to the team; he brings a physicality, he’s been able to get other people involved, he’s a willing runner, and now obviously scoring the goals. 

“The goal he scored yesterday was quality, the fake shot dragged onto his weak right foot, into the bottom corner, great strike through the ball. I really rate him.”

Højlund experienced a tough start to life in the Premier League and didn’t score his first goal up until the 3-2 win against Aston Villa in December. He has scored in the three following league games and also bagged six in United’s Champions League group stage fixtures.

Antonio stated that Højlund’s self-belief would’ve been important to get through that initial tough period and move into form like he has done.

“The one thing with a striker is people are always going to look at you to score the goals, and there’s going to be a time you only human where you’re going to be without the goals,” he added. “But as long as you believe in yourself, you’ve got self-belief, and you know that when you get an opportunity, you’re going to take it, and when you take it, you feel like you’re going to go on a run, that’s the most important thing.

“Be able to control yourself and just believe that you’re good enough to do it. He wouldn’t be in the situation he is right now at United if he couldn’t score goals. 

“A centre forward is being able to bring players into the game, run in behind, and as a striker, you’re meant to get goals, but it’s being the whole complete package instead of just getting goals because it’s a team sport at the end of the day and the team’s meant to help as well.”