Michail Antonio is hoping for a Wembley rerun when West Ham United take on Tottenham Hotspur in a 'massive game' on Wednesday night.
The Hammers head to the Home of Football in the Carabao Cup fourth round, with both a place in the quarter-finals and local bragging rights at stake.
For Antonio, the tie also represents an opportunity to repeat the success he enjoyed on his only previous visit to Wembley, when he scored a fine goal in Southampton’s Football League Trophy final victory over Carlisle United in 2010.
It’s Wembley. As much as they are playing home games there all season, it’s Wembley so it’s exciting for any team that goes there
“It’s a massive game,” said the winger, who scored the winner against Tottenham in the final Premier League derby at the Boleyn Ground in March 2016. “Even if it wasn’t at Wembley, it would be a massive game, as any game when West Ham and Tottenham are playing against each other, it is a massive.
“Especially after they beat us at home, we need to go there and beat them at their home. We’ve got to steady our minds, go there and perform for the fans.”
Antonio is one of a number of West Ham players who have turned out at Wembley before, with Joe Hart, Aaron Cresswell, Pablo Zabaleta, Jose Fonte, James Collins, Mark Noble and Andy Carroll all having trodden the hallowed turf in the past.
Hart, Zabaleta and Carroll have all won the League Cup at the historic north London ground and the No30 would love to emulate that achievement.
“It’s Wembley. As much as they are playing home games there all season, it’s Wembley so it’s exciting for any team that goes there.
“There are going to be loads of players who have not had the opportunity to play there, who will now get the opportunity to play there.
“People are going to turn up and want to perform there because it is a historic ground.”
Reflecting on his victorious goalscoring performance at Wembley seven years ago, Antonio cannot help but smile when he recalls that day.
Playing alongside current Hammers teammate Jose Fonte and under former West Ham manager Alan Pardew on his 20th birthday, the winger scored the Saints’ fourth and final goal in a comfortable victory over the Cumbrians.
“It was an unbelievable day. There were 75,000 fans there and it was my birthday, as I’d just turned 20, we won and I scored! I had 15 of my family members and celebrated my goal in front of them, so it was just an unforgettable day. I remember everything about it to a tee.
“Scoring a goal at the historic Wembley Stadium was just unbelievable. Rickie Lambert headed the ball down and I’ve taken it on my chest and half-volleyed it with my left foot into the corner.
“I’d love to do it again on Wednesday night!”