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Opinion: West Ham squad player makes claim for starting position in preseason match

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West Ham played their first friendly ahead of the 2019/20 campaign on Thursday, going on to beat SCR Altach 3-2, with Michail Antonio scoring one of the goals.

Pre-season will always give players the opportunity to get themselves into their manager’s thinking ahead of the new campaign.

He scored six Premier League goals and assisted four times last season, while predominantly playing on the wing, with most of his goals coming as a result of him drifting infield and getting on the end of balls into the box.

Antonio is a man who Manuel Pellegrini is clearly aware of, but the Englishman wasn’t necessarily a starter last year – acting as more of a squad player as he played 22 Premier League matches from the beginning.

That Jordan Hugill was left on the bench for the game’s entirety, while Antonio played a half up front, highlights Pellegrini’s intentions and the number 30 took his chance.

Premier League defences won’t likely be breached that easily, but this was a moment that highlighted the threat Antonio can carry when playing in a central position.

This indicates that he could certainly help out more regularly in the striker role, with his performance and goal against Altach backing that up further.
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