West Ham star Michail Antonio answered students’ questions at Marshalls Park School in Romford. Find out what advice Michail would give to any aspiring footballers:
If you were to give one piece of advice to an aspiring footballer, what would it be?
Always believe in yourself because football is all about opinions. One manager might not like you but another will so don’t think because one person doesn’t like you that’s the door closed. Always believe in yourself and always push yourself forward.
In your days playing non-league football did you ever consider other careers outside of football?
Yes, so whilst playing non-league football I was working and also going to college. I got into a couple of universities, Southampton being one as I was thinking of becoming a PE teacher.
You recently went back to the school that you grew up in London. Was it strange going back?
Oh very strange, I go back quite a bit though as it’s nice to see the students and the teachers. It was historically known as quite a bad school and I just like to try to inspire the children. In school I was a bit of a cheeky chappy so I like to go back and show them that you can make it.
Throughout your career you have a great record for scoring goals. What is your most memorable goal?
That’s a good question; it’s a toss-up between scoring at Wembley and the first goal to be scored at the Olympic Stadium. Both very good goals and meant a tremendous amount to me.
What is it like training with Dimitri Payet?
Dimitri Payet is quality. What he does in training embarrasses people; he always tries little flicks and tricks, mainly against me! But being serious, it’s a pleasure to train with him and being an attacking midfielder it’s great to learn off him.
Who is the most difficult player you have played against?
I would say John Stone, defensively he’s quality. He reads the game incredibly well for such a young age, not to mention his ability on the ball. For me, he’s the best all round defender in the Premier League.
Who are your best friends in the West Ham team?
My best friends are Ashley Fletcher, Darren Randolph and Sam Byram. We have our own little cinema club. People are very jealous of that!
You are known for your pace and power. Are there any players in the West Ham squad that would beat you in a 100m race?
All of them! No, I believe I am the quickest player at the club. At the end of the season me and Diafra Sakho are going to have a race because he thinks he’s going to beat me so at the end of the season we will find out!
What is your greatest memory so far in a West Ham shirt?
I have to say the last game of the Boleyn Ground (Upton Park) last season. The atmosphere along with scoring one of the last goals ever at the stadium was just incredible. The whole day was just something I will never forget, there were 3,000 fans outside the stadium because they couldn’t get in chanting for hours, unreal.