Skip to main content Skip to site footer

Career ladder: Michail Antonio

25 March 2013

Name: Michail Antonio
Position: Winger
Date of Birth: 28/03/1990
Club: Sheffield Wednesday
Previous Clubs: Tooting and Mitcham United, Reading, Cheltenham Town (loan), Southampton (loan), Colchester United (loan).

What do you remember about your first ever match?
My first ever professional match; I'd just been called back from my loan at Tooting and Mitcham and I played a reserve game and then the next day I got sent out on loan to Cheltenham Town. Cheltenham were in npower League 1 at that time and my first game was at Elland Road against Leeds United.

I started the game on fire, if I do say so myself, just picking up the ball and beating players, getting a few crosses in. Then, about 13 minutes in, I picked up the ball, skipped past two players on the edge of the box, I've gone to shoot and Patrick Kisnorbo has put his foot on the other side of the ball as I was just about to kick it and I sprained my ankle.

It was my professional debut, my first ever Football League match, so I played on and tried my hardest to carry on, but I had to come off and I was out for three months.

My first game, for Tooting and Mitcham, was when I was 17 and we played Hendon away and I got subbed on in the 60th minute. We were losing 1-0 and I got a goal on my debut to equalise.

Who was your childhood hero?
Ian Wright. I wasn't an Arsenal fan; he was just quite slim and quick. There was Thierry Henry, too. Two quick skillful players.

When did you realise you had a chance to progress in the game?
I don't really know. I signed professionally when I was 18 from Tooting and Mitcham. I believed that I missed my opportunity; I missed my chance, and I honestly didn't think I was going to make it. When I was younger, I was 14 and I had a couple of trials for Tottenham Hotspur and they said they were quite interested in me but my mum said, ' no, education comes first'. So, I didn't get to go to an academy, then I got to 17 and I was thinking, 'no, I'm never going to do it now, I'm too late'. But then I did it when I was 18.

Which coach has had the biggest influence on your career?
I'm going to have to say Nigel Gibbs at Reading. He took me from being that raw non-league player and sorted out my crossing and my finishing, and made me know where I needed to be on the pitch at certain times. For the five years I was at Reading, he definitely shaped me.

What did you spend your first wage packet on?
I bought my mum a TV - a 50-inch to put it in the front room.

Does your squad number have a special meaning to you?
My squad number at Reading had a special meaning to me - it was 28 and my birthday is on the 28th. There was lower number but I took 28. Right now I have seven and that's just that number I've always loved because of David Beckham.

Who did you last swap shirts with?
Wayne Bridge, against Brighton and Hove Albion.

How has the game changed for the better since you became a pro?
I honestly don't know. The game has got a lot quicker but I wouldn't say it has changed dramatically since I became a pro.

If you could have coached yourself when you were a teenager, what advice would you have passed on?
Anything is possible; just believe in your ability. If you work hard, you can achieve anything.

If you stay in the game at the end of your career, what will you do? a) Manager b) Coach c) Scout d) Physio e) Pundit?
Scout. I would definitely love to become a scout because you get to see new potential. It would be good to say you're the person who uncovered the next Lionel Messi. It would be decent.

What do you want to be best remembered for at the end of your career?
Somebody who won things.

For all the latest news on Sheffield Wednesday please click here

Advertisement block