Paolo Di Canio congratulates Michail Antonio on West Ham goalscoring record

Michail Antonio overtook Paolo Di Canio as West Ham's record Premier League goalscorer with a double against Leicester on Monday; "I'm really happy for him, because he's a fantastic lad, a great professional and a really, really important player"

Paolo Di Canio
Image: Paolo Di Canio scored 47 goals for West Ham between 1999 and 2004

West Ham icon Paolo Di Canio has given Michail Antonio glowing praise after he established himself as the club's record Premier League goalscorer.

Antonio's double against Leicester on Monday made sure he overtook the Italian, who previously held the record after his 47 goals in 118 appearances during his time at Upton Park between 1999 and 2003.

Di Canio, now a pundit for Sky in Italy, revealed he wanted to sign Antonio when he was Swindon Town boss in 2011.

"I'm really happy for him, because he's a fantastic lad, a great professional and a really, really important player," Di Canio said.

"Michail Antonio, congratulations. You deserved it, I'm happy and I'm hoping you can score many, many more because you are really good.

"You have an extraordinary, atypical physique. We always say that when a striker is built like that, he can be the team's whole forward line. I'm not saying he's the best player in the world, but no one else does it like him.

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Watch West Ham striker Michail Antonio’s most memorable goal celebrations, including ‘the worm’, ‘the Homer Simpson’ and a group effort involving Jamie Carragher and Gary Neville!

"He's not the static type of player that waits for the ball to come to him or comes towards it to hold up the play, he's the type of player who makes sacrifices and opens up the play across the whole width and depth of the pitch, putting pressure on the defenders with those runs in behind, and then running after them.

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"He's really tough to shift and to move. Besides, he suffered with injuries in the past. I wanted to sign him at Swindon in 2011, when he was playing for Colchester United.

"Well, I really could see into the future - although at the time he was a strong and powerful winger, then he morphed into a striker as years went by.

"Really, really well done. I'm hoping for many more goals like those you scored last night."

'West Ham can bother anyone'

Di Canio, who played in the UEFA Cup with West Ham in 2000, predicts the Hammers will overcome the challenges of playing European football in midweek to make another success out of this season.

"This West Ham side is really tough to face because they unlocked a top status thanks to David Moyes," he said.

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Michail Antonio became West Ham's leading Premier League goalscorer with his double against Leicester and celebrated the landmark with his own cardboard cut-out

"They will give everyone a spot of bother, with those 55,000 fantastic Hammers fans they rediscovered last night at the stadium.

"I'm predicting another great year for them, although we will see how they will cope with playing every three or four days with Europa League football.

"There, we will see the real stature of this side, but I'm convinced they will overcome any type of challenge. Come on you Irons."

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