Speaking about Antonio, Bilic said: “Well it wasn’t a slow start but he had to wait for his first start. He has worked very, very hard, and he has had to wait, he didn’t moan or sing, then he got his chance which he took. His pace and energy was always there, now tactically he is also getting there and he is a very important player for us. Michail is a workaholic.”
Bilic is clearly a big fan of the winger, who netted his fifth goal for the Hammers on Saturday in the 1-0 win over Sunderland.
He has quickly become one of the most important players for Bilic, which many would have failed to imagine at the start of the season when Antonio was signed from Nottingham Forest.
He played for 30 minutes of the 2-1 win at Manchester City, in what was his second available game, but then sat out for two months worth of action.
The 25-year-old then only got back into the team because of injuries to more senior players, but Antonio more than proved his worth in their absence, and her the past few months.
He has scored four goals and registered two assists in the 14 Premier League games since returning to the side, and the winger has proven his versatility.
He has naturally played on the wing, but has also filled in at right-back if needed, which is where he will likely play on Wednesday evening against Spurs.
Antonio has enjoyed a sparkling debut season in the Premier League, and he has quickly risen to a key role under Bilic despite his slow start at the Boleyn Ground.