'A great signing' – West Ham United striker delivers transfer verdict on £25m Newcastle player
West Ham United forward Michail Antonio has been impressed with what he has seen from Newcastle United ahead of Saturday’s Premier League match at The London Stadium (12:30pm kick-off).
Newcastle have won their last three matches top climb out of the relegation zone going into the West Ham match.
But they have also been hit by a major injury blow with January signing Kieran Trippier ruled out for the next couple of months after fracturing his fifth metatarsal in the 1-0 win against Aston Villa on Sunday.
The England international scored the winning goal against Villa before going off injured – he also scored a free-kick in the previous match against Everton which finished 3-1 at St James’s Park.
And Antonio, who is set to line-up against Newcastle on Saturday, was honest in his assessment of Trippier’s situation.
“It's a massive blow,” he said on the Footballer’s Football Podcast. “Tripps, two in two. Two unbelievable free-kicks, things are going so well and then a fractured foot.
"I was devvoed for [Newcastle] when I saw that.”
The 30-year-old is yet to score for Newcastle since signing from Burnley for £25million last month but does have an impressive record against The Hammers.
In nine Premier League games against West Ham, Wood has found the net seven times as he heads to The London Stadium looking to get off the mark in black and white.
“I watched a bit of [Newcastle] and even though Chris Wood hasn't scored any goals yet, I've seen what he's done,” Antonio added.
“He's literally the big man, getting the flick ons and the work he's doing off the ball is helping the team massively.
"I can definitely see [Wilson and Wood] playing two up front together. Him knocking things down for [Wilson] to run through on goal. It's definitely a great signing for you guys.”
Wilson hasn’t played for Newcastle since Wood’s arrival on Tyneside as he remains sidelined with a calf injury picked up against Manchester United back in December.
No clear return date has been set for Wilson yet but head coach Eddie Howe has suggested the striker should be back in time for the final few matches of the current season.
And he knows it will be a challenge to get back into the side with Newcastle picking up 10 points from a possible 12 with Wood in the side.
“He's probably kicking himself that he's not scored yet but you know what it's like, one will drop and you hit the ground running,” Wilson responded.
“The formation we've been playing has been working with one striker and credit to [Wood], he's done a great job.
"When I get back, it's not going to be easy to walk back in and the manager is going to look at ways to get us both into the team but as a striker, all you can focus on is yourself in the present moment.
"For me that's about getting fit but I have no doubts about playing as a two or as a one.”