West Ham playmaker Dimitri Payet is relieved he does not need surgery on his injured ankle. The French midfielder, who has scored five goals in 14 appearances this season, faces three months on the sidelines following a heavy challenge from Everton’s James McCarthy on Nov. 7.
He told the club website:
“I am doing well. I am surrounded by very good people which has allowed me to recover and I am keeping my head high. It is a long period but I am looking forward to making a return to action.
“Of course it is a big relief for me that I will not need an operation. I speak from experience and having had a couple of operations it is not an easy thing to cope with. It is good news on that front but it doesn’t change the time that it will take me to recover.
“I want to get back playing as quickly as I can and perform to the way I have been doing so far this season. It has been a dream for me.”
Injuries to Payet and forward Enner Valencia, who will be out for six weeks with an ankle problem, could pave the way for Michail Antonio to break into the first team. Antonio cost West Ham £7 million from Nottingham Forest on transfer deadline day but has managed just 30 minutes of soccer so far, as a substitute at Manchester City. His lack of action was even the subject of an online prank when Hammers chairman David Gold retweeted a picture of a “missing” man, who turned out to be the 25-year-old winger. But Antonio could be drafted in when Slaven Bilic’s side head to London rivals Tottenham on Sunday.
Bilic told the club website:
“Dimitri getting injured is a great loss as well as Enner. Their absence gives other players the chance to become the star of the club and allow them to show what they can do.
“Dimitri has been absolutely superb so far so he will be greatly missed. It’s time for the other boys to step up and show what they can do.
“When I joined, I knew it wasn’t going to be easy to break through and stake my claim in the Premier League. It’s one of those things where I need to wait and bide my time.”