West Ham striker, Michail Antonio has reportedly snubbed England and officially pledged his international future to Jamaica.
Earlier this month, it was revealed that the Jamaica FA were making plans to recruit up to 15 English stars ahead of next year’s World Cup in Qatar. Joining Antonio on the list were Demarai Gray, Max Aarons, and Liam Moore, and it has now been reported that the West Ham man is the first to confirm his place in the Jamaica squad.
Sky Sports report that Antonio has now definitely pledged his allegiance to the Caribbean island – where his parents were born – in a bid to play more international football having missed out regularly on England squads of late.
Jamaica are also hopeful of persuading Isaac Hayden, Andre Gray, Ethan Pinnock Mason Holgate, Kemar Roofe, Rolando Aarons, Curtis Tilt, Jamal Lowe, Amari’i Bell, and Kasey Palmer to represent them.
JFF President, Michael Ricketts confirmed that many of the players they want to call-up are in the process of acquiring Jamaican passports.
‘I see Andre Gray, Demarai Gray, Isaac Hayden, who actually approached the JFF about representing us, Mason Holgate, Liam Moore, who already has his Jamaican passport, Nathan Redmond, Kemar Roofe, and Ivan Toney. All of these we are in the process of acquiring their Jamaican passports,’ Ricketts confirmed this week.
‘The process is becoming a little tedious because of the pandemic but the process is ongoing and we are hopeful we will get the passports for these gentlemen in reasonable time.
‘We have been having discussions. I just spoke with the Permanent Secretary for Sport and he has agreed to try and help us to facilitate and to expedite the process.’
In 2016, turned down the chance to represent Jamaica before earning an invite to England squads by Sam Allardyce and Gareth Southgate but did not make his debut.
Speaking at that time after he was called up to the England squad by Allardyce, he said: ‘I turned down an approach from Jamaica in March and for this to happen so quickly, I’m buzzing. I just want to keep my feet on the floor.
‘In my first season in the Premier League, even though I had good stats, the England manager would have had to take a risk on me.
‘It looks like the gaffer now believes that I’ve done enough to be in there, so hopefully, I can prove him right.’
The forward was then called up by Southgate in 2017 but he was forced to withdraw from the squad due to injury.