West Ham teenager Ben Johnson is surely in the fast lane to get more first-team football after Ryan Fredericks reportedly suffered an injury.
Claret & Hugh reported on Monday that the 26-year-old right-back picked up a knock in training ahead of the Everton clash which resulted in him being unable to feature.
While the reliable outlet don’t state how long Fredericks is set to be rooted to the sidelines, given that the defender has had more than his fare share of injury blows, surely Manuel Pellegrini will hand Johnson more opportunities in case the player’s bad luck continues.
The 19-year-old was thrown into the deep end earlier in the season when he made his first-team debut against Manchester City.
Yet the occasion didn’t overwhelm him and Johnson impressed against Man City by neutering the threat of Riyad Mahrez during the match.
While Johnson proved he could handle himself in difficult situations, it’s still clear he needs more Premier League experience in order to be a truly reliable option for Pellegrini to call upon.
With that said Frederick’s injury is the perfect reason to utilise the teenager more in the coming weeks as clearly there’s room in Pellegrini’s squad for a right-back currently.
Also when you consider that first-choice right-back Pablo Zabaleta has been struggling as of late, surely that hasn’t escaped the Hammers manager attention?
The veteran full-back has been performing well below par and with Fredericks unavailable, that clearly has to lead to more minutes for Johnson.
While some Hammers fans may be wary of using a teenager in the Premier League, Johnson didn’t let them down before and it’s better he gets experience now when there’s not overly too much at stake.