David Moyes has tipped the “unique” Michail Antonio to smash West Ham’s Premier League goalscoring record.
Antonio moved level with former Hammers favourite Paolo Di Canio on 47 goals with his strike in last weekend’s 4-2 win at Newcastle.
Boss Moyes is hoping the powerhouse winger-turned-striker can go out in front on his own by finding the net against Leicester on Monday night.
“He’s joint top now and because of that I am sure Micky will break the record,” said Moyes.
“If it happens this Monday night it would be great but if it is not this Monday I am sure it will be in the near future.
“I think Mick will see it as a big deal and so he should do because West Ham, if you look through the eras, have had so many great players.
“So I think that for Micky to have the chance to do it, having started as a winger and then full-back and wing-back, for this period in his career he is a centre-forward so I hope he gets in front by about 20 or 30 goals ahead of Paolo Di Canio. I hope he makes it very difficult for anyone to catch him.”
Antonio missed large chunks of last season with hamstring trouble, but he remains West Ham’s only senior striker after a frustrating transfer window thus far, so keeping him fit is crucial to their ambitions in the Premier League and Europe this term.
“We’re short so we want to give him some cover or some competition but he is very unique and we’d miss him if we didn’t have him,” added Moyes.
The 31-year-old will be looking to outgun the evergreen Jamie Vardy who is still banging in the goals for the Foxes at 34.
“I’ve only been here for 18 months and Jamie Vardy’s been at Leicester for a lifetime, it feels like,” said Moyes.
“Jamie Vardy has been hugely influential at Leicester. Winning the league, they won the FA Cup. I hope Micky can have an impact in his time as a centre-forward.
“As they get older, which you often find, players appreciate how you get longevity and keep your career going is by keeping yourself in great condition, eating well and training well. Getting as much rest as you can.
“I think Mick has got to the stage where he’s well into that and understands the importance of it. I think he’s probably fitter than he’s ever been.
“But he’s still got to up his numbers. They’re still not as high as they should be but I hope his all-round fitness will enable him to play more football this season.”