by Daniel Wheeler
National senior men’s team manager Roy Simpson said they are ‘in talks’ with West Ham striker Michail Antonio about his potential switch to represent the Reggae Boyz in time for their World Cup qualifying campaign.
According to a report in the English newspaper, The Telegraph, the 30-year-old is set to switch allegiance to Jamaica to help the country in their quest to qualify for next year’s FIFA Men’s World Cup finals in Qatar. He is reportedly set to accept the country’s latest approach for him after being unsuccessful in 2016.
When STAR Sports contacted Simpson, he could only disclose that there are ‘continuing discussions’ with the player, without offering any further details.
Antonio was called up to England squads managed by Sam Allardyce and most recent Gareth Southgate in 2017 but did not make his international debut on those occasions. He did not see the field in 2016 and in 2017 had to pull out of the team because of injury. He outlined his reasons in 2016 for rejecting Jamaica’s initial approach as he wanted to represent England.
West Ham surge
Despite missing the start of the current English Premier League season because of injury, his form has helped West Ham surge to the top four with 45 points from 25 games. Should the switch be approved, and the necessary paperwork completed, he would join a content of England-born players which include Manchester United academy product Ravel Morrison, Fulham’s Bobby Reid and Michael Hector.
The final round of the qualifiers are scheduled to start in September with the first match against Mexico at the Azteca in Mexico City.