West Ham striker Michail Antonio has given up on playing for England, where he was born, and has opted for Jamaica in the hope of launching his international career at the age of 30, according to UK media reports.
Antonio, whose parents were born on the Caribbean island, was approached by the Reggae Boyz last month, but the reports say he was still considering whether he wanted to play for England.
Antonio has been included in England squads under both Sam Allardyce, a previous manager, and the current one, Gareth Southgate, but has never been capped at senior debut.
Jamaica is set to play a friendly against the United States in Austria on March 25, but has yet to named their squad.
The reports say the five-foot, 11-inch striker – a father of four – has chosen to pledge his allegiance to Jamaica because it provides the prospect of more regular international football, even with the likes of Danny Ings and Tammy Abraham on the England injured list.
Earlier reports suggested the Reggae Boyz were plotting an audacious move to recruit up to 15 English stars ahead of next year’s World Cup in Qatar.
Joining Antonio among the list were Demarai Gray, Max Aarons and Liam Moore – now it appears the West Ham striker is the first to confirm his place in the Jamaica squad.
A physical striker, Antonio has been a vital part of David Moyes’ West Ham revolution and the Premier League club’s manager had been hoping that the player would wait for his England chance, telling reporters recently: “I am still holding out he has a chance to get picked for England.”
Michail Antonio, who was born in Wandsworth, Greater London, started his career at Tooting & Mitcham United Juniors at the age of 12 and remained there for six seasons.
He signed for Championship club Reading in 2008 for an undisclosed fee and had loan spells at various clubs before joining Sheffield Wednesday in 2012, moving to Nottingham Forest in 2014 and then switching to West Ham a year later.