Exclusive: McAvennie slams Haller, claims he failed to seize West Ham opportunity
We’re delighted to welcome former West Ham striker Frank McAvennie as our exclusive columnist. Each week he’ll be giving his views on the biggest talking points at the London Stadium…
Frank McAvennie has slammed West Ham striker Sebastien Haller for failing to take advantage of Michail Antonio’s spell on the sidelines with a hamstring injury.
Haller, 26, has struggled for the Hammers since his big-money move from Frankfurt last year and for most of 2020, Antonio, 30, has played as David Moyes’ first-choice striker.
Antonio’s was in terrific form at the back-end of last season and started this campaign well by scoring three goals in six Premier League appearances before an injury ruled him out of the defeat to Liverpool and win over Fulham.
Haller started both of those matches but with the London Evening Standard reporting that Antonio could be available to play against Sheffield United on Sunday, McAvennie has claimed that the Ivory Costa international should be dropped to make way for the returning ace.
“I wanted Haller to take a look at Antonio and think to himself ‘this is what I have to do’,” McAvennie told West Ham Zone.
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“I don’t know how to suss him out because he’s a huge man and if he was to put himself about with the enthusiasm that Antonio’s got he’d be a handful.
“Andy Carroll was a handful when he played for West Ham and Antonio’s a handful. Andy Carroll’s an old-fashioned centre-forward. Just get the ball in the box and win it but I’m thinking Haller doesn’t even do that to attack the ball.
“I was hoping he would come in and give the manager a headache but for whatever reason, it’s not worked out for the boy.
“If Antonio’s fit [to face Sheffield United], I’d like to see him back in.
“When somebody’s injured, you get a chance and when you don’t take it, it could change your career.
“You can’t have a go at the manager because David Moyes is giving Haller chances to claim the number one striker spot.
“Competition is great for the team but unfortunately Haller’s not giving the manager any headaches over putting Antonio back in because he’s not taken his chance with both hands.”
Haller has been among the goals for West Ham this season by netting five times in 10 appearances across all competitions. However, four of those goals were in the Carabao Cup.
The ex-Frankfurt striker had a huge chance to make an impression against Liverpool and Fulham but didn’t really show Moyes or the fans that he’d be a better option up front than Antonio.
According to stats by WyScout, Haller had just two shots at goal in both of those matches and only one of those hit the target.
The Ivorian also won just 29 per cent of his aerial duels against Liverpool and 38 per cent against Fulham. Antonio, in comparison, has won 41.4 per cent of all his aerial duels in the Premier League this season, which backs up McAvennie’s claim that Haller doesn’t put himself about as much as the 30-year-old.
In other West Ham news, the Hammers could revisit their interest in Martin Braithwaite.