After missing the end of the last Premier League season with the Hammers due to injury, the winger is raring to go ahead of the new campaign.
Michail Antonio says his injury recovery is on track as he prepares for the new Premier League season with West Ham.
A hamstring problem sustained against Swansea City on April 8 saw Antonio ruled out for the rest of the campaign, while he also missed England’s June games against Scotland and France.
Antonio – who scored nine Premier League goals in 29 starts last season – signed a new four-year deal to extend his stay at London Stadium in May and the 27-year-old is eager to return to action.
“The rehab is going well, I’m on schedule and where I want to be,” Antonio told West Ham’s website. “I had a short break at the end of the season, but since then I’ve been back in at the training ground every day, working hard and trying to make sure everything is right.
“It’s been a lot of gym work, just to get the strength back in the hamstring and remove the scar tissue. That’s all progressing well and I’m raring to go for the new season.
“It was a surprise when it happened. I’d had a slight strain previously, but I came back against Arsenal and it felt fine. I remember knocking the ball past Hector Bellerin on a full sprint and there was no problem, but in the first 20 minutes against Swansea a few days later, it just popped.
“I can only put it down to fatigue. I had played in basically every game last season and the season before that, so maybe my body just needed a rest. I haven’t kicked a ball now since early April, which is frustrating, but I am really looking forward to getting back next season.”
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Antonio is yet to win his first England cap, despite being selected in squads by manager Gareth Southgate and his predecessor Sam Allardyce, and the Londoner is not looking ahead to next year’s World Cup in Russia.
“It’s pleasing to know that I have now been called up by two England managers and hopefully it shows that it wasn’t a fluke to get into Sam Allardyce’s squad at the start of last season,” Antonio added.
“That was definitely one of the proudest moments of my career. As a child growing up, watching England, it was one of those things you always wanted to be involved in.
“The World Cup next year isn’t in my mind, though. I don’t really pay attention to the long-term, I take short steps – that is what I have done through my whole career, from non-league to the Premier League.
You’ve got to take each step as it comes – you can’t think about 20 steps away because it will distract you and trip you up.
“Of course I want to get into the England World Cup team, especially having been so close, but I’m not going to be concentrating on it or let it be at the front of my mind. I have to play games and do well for West Ham – that is my focus.”