Michail Antonio broke Paolo Di Canio’s record for goals scored in Premier League with West Ham, so the former Italian striker sent him a message and revealed he wanted to sign him in 2011.
On Monday, Antonio scored a brace in the Hammers’ 4-1 win over Leicester City, becoming West Ham’s best scorer in the Premier League era with 49 goals.
The previous record-holder was former Italy striker Paolo Di Canio, who scored 47 Premier League goals in East London between 1998 and 2003.
“I’m happy because Antonio is a fantastic guy, a great professional and a very important player. So, congratulations, I am happy for him. I hope he can score even more goals because he is really strong,” Di Canio told Sky Sport Italia.
“He has extraordinary physical skills, atypical I would say. There isn’t another centre forwards like him in the world. Which doesn’t mean he is the best one. He is not just a classic, static centre forward who waits to get the ball.
“He sacrifices himself for the team and helps his teammates, running behind his opponents. He is like a truck, so difficult to move.
“I wanted to sign him in 2011 when I was coaching Swindon Town and he was at Colchester United. At that moment of his career, he was playing as a winger and during the years, he has become e pure striker. Really well done,” the former Lazio forward concluded.
Di Canio scored 52 goals in 140 appearances across all competitions with West Ham before joining Charlton.
He then returned to Lazio, where he played for two seasons scoring 20 goals in 124 appearances between 2004 and 2006.
He retired after two more seasons at Cisco Roma in Serie C, where he netted 17 goals in 53 appearances.
Di Canio became a coach and was appointed by Swindon Town in 2011. His last managerial experience was in 2013 with Sunderland, but his time at the Stadium of Light lasted 12 games.
He is now a Premier League and Champions League pundit for Sky Sport Italia.