Former Liverpool midfielder Jamie Redknapp has criticised West Ham midfielder turned defender Michail Antonio for his failure to track Southampton’s Ryan Bertrand’s run in the build up to Southampton’s opening goal at the London Stadium on Sunday.
Bertrand had found some space down the left wing before playing Nathan Redmond in behind the Hammers defence, who in turn cut the ball back to Charlie Austin who fired the Saints to a 1-0 lead.
— FootballontheTV (@Footballonthetv) September 25, 2016
West Ham were poor on a number of fronts on Sunday en route to their fifth league defeat in six games, but it was the defensive performance of Antonio that really seemed to frustrate Redknapp.
“We praised Antonio before the match but here he is like a kid in the playground,” Redknapp told Sky Sports’ Super Sunday programme during the half-time interval of the London Stadium clash.
“He is jogging around and has not stayed with Bertrand, which is unforgivable.
“Bertrand is able to go forward and supply the cross for Austin, who is as good as anybody in the Premier League from that position.”
Although it was Redmond and not Bertrand who supplied the final pass to Austin, it’s not the first time Antonio’s defensive abilities have come under the microscope, with the Londoners’ defensive frailties a consistent subject for criticism through the beginning of the season.
The 26-year-old was actually one of the Irons’ better performers on Sunday but his defensive mistakes will continue to be scrutinised going forward, especially if he makes Sam Allardyce’s England squad for the upcoming World Cup qualifier with Malta next month.
Jack O’Toole, Pundit Arena