SHEFFIELD WEDNESDAY: Dave Jones hails ace Michail Antonio

'Superb' play: Michail Antonio has been compared to Theo Walcott and Aaron Lennon
'Superb' play: Michail Antonio has been compared to Theo Walcott and Aaron Lennon
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DAVE Jones has compared Owls speed merchant Michail Antonio to England wingers Theo Walcott and Aaron Lennon.

The Owls manager says that Antonio’s pace reminds him of the international duo when they too were relatively inexperienced. Wednesday’s star has had some ups and downs this season but Jones is backing him to improve.

On some occasions the 22-year-old has scored or made goals but on others, for example Tuesday’s defeat by Blackpool, he has failed to finish with a clinical cross or shot after getting himself into good positions.

But Jones says: “I thought he was superb. His running, his pace, his power... he reminds me so much of Walcott and Lennon when they first started - so much pace to burn, plus power.

“But it’s just that final decision, and he’ll get better at that. At the moment he’ll be a bit hit and miss, because of his youthfulness. Don’t forget it’s not so long ago he’s come out of non-league football so we have to give him the time to learn and he will get better, and is getting better.

“The time will come when if there are 10 balls he’ll put seven or eight of them on the button. At the moment it’s probably the other way around; that’s Antonio’s learning process.”

The winger was playing for London non-League side Tooting and Mitcham when he was signed by Reading in 2008.

Walcott, 23, and Lennon, 25, have won 50 caps between them and became stars at Arsenal and Spurs respectively after coming through the youth systems at Southampton and Leeds.

So Jones has paid Antonio a big compliment, and is forgiving about the chance that the winger created for himself then missed in the second half, instead praising the power and pace that created it.