Antonio scored his third goal of the season to help David Moyes’ side to a 1-1 draw against Manchester City at the London Stadium on Saturday.
The 30-year-old also netted in West Ham’s win over Leicester City and defeat to Arsenal, and Crooks feels the Irons rely on the forward’s impact hugely.
Crooks explained that Antonio does not possess the same talent as former Hammers stars Paolo Di Canio and Dimitri Payet, but feels he outclasses them when it comes to hard work.
The former Tottenham Hotspur star went on to insist that Antonio is the focal point West Ham have been missing since the departure of Arnautovic.
“I never thought Antonio would ever have the sort of impact West Ham would rely upon as much as they have in recent weeks“, Crooks wrote in his BBC Sport column.
“He’s not in the same class as Paolo Di Canio or Dimitri Payet for example.
“These were players blessed with enormous ability and were crowd pleasers.
“What they lacked in endeavour they made up for with artistry.
“Antonio is all about endeavour.
“His goal against Manchester City on Saturday would have tested the talents of Di Canio and Payet at their best.
“In fact Antonio is giving the Hammers a focal point they have not possessed since Marko Arnautovic left.“
West Ham visit Liverpool this weekend and Antonio will be hopeful of helping the Irons to keep their four-game unbeaten run in the league intact.