West Ham striker Michail Antonio has responded to criticism from Ryan Mason for comments he and Callum Wilson made regarding Tottenham Hotspur attacker Richarlison.
Antonio and Wilson made Richarlison the butt of their jokes earlier this month on The Footballer’s Football Podcast, suggesting the Brazilian is in line for a suspension for picking up so many yellow cards for his goal celebrations.
The problem is, the majority of his bookings have come from celebrating goals that never were, with VAR ruling out Richarlison’s efforts on three occasions this season.
Richarlison has just three goals for Spurs this term, and only one of those came in the Premier League (Transfermarkt). He had to wait until April before one of his league goals would count.
On the remarks made by Antonio and Wilson, Tottenham Hotspur’s Acting Head Coach, Ryan Mason, made his disapproval very clear and suggested the pair should not have spoken about a fellow professional in the manner they did (Football.London).
Now, Antonio has told the BBC that he is sure Richarlison understands his comments were made in jest and even praised the 26-year-old’s passionate celebrations.
He said: “Mason was a player – we are players. Players have banter with players.
“We have not said Richarlison is not a good footballer or anything about his stats.
“[Richarlison] doesn’t actually care. If he cared, he would not be the quality of player he is – because you can’t let people get into your heads.
“If he saw the comments, he would not have thought we were taking the mick out of him. He will know it’s banter. It was unnecessary for Mason to take it personally.”
Looking at the positives of Richarlison’s behaviour, Antonio added: “I rate the fact he does that every time.
“I’ve stopped celebrating because I don’t want to be when VAR rules it out, so I think he’s mentally stronger than me.
“I’m worried everyone will still be playing and I’ll look like a doughnut doing the worm in the far corner.”
Spurs Web Opinion
I know Antonio and Wilson are just having a laugh on their podcast, but it did feel a little inappropriate to talk about Richarlison the way they did.
That said, you have to say fair play to Antonio for coming out and backtracking like this.
Have something to tell us about this article?