(Reuters) - West Ham United midfielder Michail Antonio knows footballers can be “forgotten in two weeks” and is determined to keep improving to avoid that fate.
Antonio started his senior career at semi-professional team Tooting and Mitcham United before joining Reading in 2008 and rising up the divisions, moving to West Ham in 2015. The winger has since made over 50 league appearances for the Hammers.
The 27-year-old had his best campaign in 2016-17 where he won the club’s Player of the Year award after scoring nine goals in 29 league starts to help the London side secure a 11th placed finish but Antonio aims to improve further.
“I never think ‘I’ve made it’ because, in football, you can be forgotten within two weeks and I don’t ever want to be forgotten. I want to always be better and make my career last as long as possible,” Antonio told the club’s official website (www.whufc.com).
“It does make me proud to know where I’ve come from and how hard I have worked, but I‘m also scared of it, because I know what I’ve had to do, and I don’t ever want to go back to that situation. It drives me more to be better.”
Antonio is recovering from a hamstring injury that ended his season in April but signed a new four-year contract at West Ham in May and is confident that he can achieve his target of scoring more goals next season.
“I am so determined to have a great season, especially after the injury. My target at the start of last season was to improve and score more goals than I had the previous year,” Antonio said.
“So next season... I want to get to that mark as soon as possible so that I can make it higher, keep pushing myself and keep getting better.”
(The story has been refiled to fix spelling of Antonio’s first name in intro)
Reporting by Aditi Prakash in Bengaluru; editing by Amlan Chakraborty