Antonio holds on to Nations League hope despite injury setback
Reggae Boyz striker Michail Antonio has suffered a setback in his return from injury but it isn’t expected to rule him out of Jamaica’s Concacaf Nations League semi-final against the USA in March.
The 33-year-old has been out of action for English Premier League club West Ham United after suffering a knee injury during Jamaica’s Concacaf Nations League quarter-final first leg against Canada at the National Stadium on November 18, 2023, which saw him substituted after 21 minutes.
It was first reported that the Jamaican ruptured his medial ligament, but scans only revealed a strain which ruled him out of playing time over the last seven weeks.
Antonio returned to training in late December and was expected to return for West Ham in their FA Cup game against Bristol City on Sunday but reportedly slipped during a session at the club’s training ground, which aggravated the injury.
He is now expected to spend another four to six weeks on the sidelines. However, barring no further setback, Antonio should return for West Ham in February and also be available for international selection ahead of the Reggae Boyz’s participation in the Nations League Finals in Arlington, Texas, March 21-24.
Head coach of the national senior men’s team Heimir Hallgrimsson is expected to name the squad a week before the international window.
Prior to his injury, Antonio appeared in every Premier League match for West Ham, where he registered two goals and two assists.
The club is currently sixth in the league on 34 points and recently picked up wins against Arsenal and Manchester United, respectively.
Though disappointed that he hasn’t been able to contribute over the last few weeks, Antonio is proud of what the team has been achieving so far.
“To be honest, you want the team to do well. Obviously, I’m not available because I can’t be available and even when you are, you still want the team to do well because it’s your friends at the end of the day. But obviously, once you’re back, you want to be involved in winning, you want to be involved in getting goals and doing things when you’re on the field, so that’s what it is,” he said on BBC Footballer’s Football Podcast.