West Ham United legend Paolo Di Canio has congratulated Michail Antonio on breaking his all-time Premier League goalscoring record for the Club.
Antonio’s brace in Monday’s 4-1 win over Leicester City took him onto 49 Premier League goals in Claret and Blue – two more than Italian forward and fellow fans’ favourite Di Canio.
Speaking in his role as a pundit on Sky Italia, the 53-year-old, who scored 47 times in 118 Premier League appearances in Claret and Blue between 1999 and 2003, praised the current No9 for eclipsing his own achievement.
Really, really well done. I’m hoping for many more goals like those you scored last night
Paolo Di Canio
“I’m really happy for him, because he’s a fantastic lad, a great professional and a really, really important player,” Di Canio said.
“Michail Antonio, congratulations. You deserved it, I’m happy and I’m hoping you can score many, many more because you are really good.
“You have an extraordinary, atypical physique. We always say that when a striker is built like that, he can be the team’s whole forward line. I’m not saying he’s the best player in the world, but no one else does it like him.
“He’s not the static type of player that waits for the ball to come to him or comes towards it to hold up the play, he’s the type of player who makes sacrifices and opens up the play across the whole width and depth of the pitch, putting pressure on the defenders with those runs in behind, and then running after them.
“He’s really tough to shift and to move. Besides, he suffered with injuries in the past. I wanted to sign him at Swindon in 2011.
“Well, I really could see into the future – although at the time he was a strong and powerful winger, then he morphed into a striker as years went by.
“Really, really well done. I’m hoping for many more goals like those you scored last night.”
Di Canio was also hugely impressed by West Ham’s performance in front of a capacity London Stadium crowd in beating the FA Cup holders, and heaped praise on the way David Moyes has steered his old team into the UEFA Europa League.
“This West Ham side is really tough to face because they unlocked a top status thanks to David Moyes,” he said. “They will give everyone a spot of bother, with those fantastic Hammers fans they rediscovered at the stadium.
“I’m predicting another great year for them, although we will see how they will cope with playing every three or four days with Europa League football.
“There, we will see the real stature of this side, but I’m convinced they will overcome any type of challenge. Come on you Irons!”