The 2017-18 season hasn’t even officially begun yet, and already West Ham’s Slaven Bilic is feeling like he is stuck in the 2016-17 campaign.
The Hammers manager confirmed Friday, around their two leg preseason friendly series with Bundesliga outfit Werder Bremen, that both Andy Carroll and Michail Antonio would be out for the season opener against Manchester United in two weeks time. Both star attacking players have not accompanied the team in their preseason training stops in Austria and Germany, with Antonio’s recovery from his hamstring injury going well. The same cannot be said, however, for Carroll’s groin injury.
“Michail and Andy are in London,” Bilic said, according to The Sun. “He (Antonio) is ahead of the plan. The plan is for him to miss the first game of the season. Andy is still not able to train with the team but he is working hard at Rush Green with the physios. I am frustrated he cannot play, now he is still injured and it is a big loss for us.”
With the arrivals of Javier Hernandez and versatile Marko Arnautovic adding to the amount of players who can lead the line for West Ham, this could be Carroll’s last season at the club if he is not fit to play. The 28-year-old still believes he can make a push to be apart of England’s World Cup team in Russia next summer, meaning this year is the most important in his injury riddled career.
Bilic is both exasperated and sad at Carroll’s lack of health, as are anyone in the world who cares for West Ham. The Croatian will hope that his vice-captain Winston Reid will be ready for the first match at Old Trafford, as the Kiwi centerback will return to training on Monday. That was announced by co-club owner David Gold on his Twitter page on Friday.