Time for Antonio to shine again at right-back in Byram's absence

Upton Park

The West Ham United winger can be a real handful as a full-back...just ask Blackburn.

As reported by the London Evening Standard, West Ham United will have to make do without January signing Sam Byram for their next three matches.

The youngster is cup-tied for the FA Cup quarter-final clash with Manchester United later this month while he faces a two-match suspension in the league for collecting 10 bookings.

At first glance, the solution would be to simply play James Tomkins in Byram’s absence but the 26-year-old is currently side-lined himself, leaving Hammers manager Slaven Bilic with something of a problem.

Except it could turn out to be anything but, with summer signing Michail Antonio outstanding when he played at the back in the recent 5-1 win against Blackburn Rovers.

While the former Nottingham Forest player is predominantly a winger, it would do West Ham no harm to play him as a full-back for the upcoming games against Tottenham Hotspur, Everton and United and watch him shine.

If anything it could make them even more effective going forward, with Antonio showing against Blackburn that he would not be shackled and proving that attack is the best form of defence.

Of course he could not burst forward with no thought for his fellow defenders against some of the best attacking players in the top flight; but Antonio has already proved to be a secret weapon for the Hammers this season so what chance a change of position allowing him to start attacks from further back?

With pace, work rate and a newly found hero-status at Upton Park, Antonio could yet make the difference in the weeks ahead despite a shift in position.

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