West Ham United manager Manuel Pellegrini is seemingly readying teenager Ben Johnson for a future first team role, according to Claret & Hugh.
The reliable Hammers news source claims that the Chilean is weaning the 19-year-old into a starting spot, most likely at left back where Aaron Cresswell could be moved aside.
The youngster has started both of West Ham’s pre season games so far this summer, with Cresswell having to settle for 28 minutes off the bench against Manchester City on Wednesday.
The England international didn’t feature at all against SCR Altach last week, giving rise to the suggestion that Johnson is being prepped to take his first team spot.
It’s worth mentioning that it was Arthur Masuaku who finished last season as the starting left back for the Hammers. However, he has had his pre season disrupted by his participation in the African Cup of Nations. So it would still appear that he, not Cresswell, is the man to beat for a starting spot on the left hand side of the defence at the London Stadium. However, Cresswell’s spot in the squad could soon be taken by Johnson if this pre season, and Claret & Hugh’s report, is any indication. Clearly Pellegrini fancies the youngster and wants to take a close look at him this summer before the competitive fixtures start. So far he is doing well, offering back to back impressive outings against Altach and City. Cresswell, meanwhile, saw the teenager preferred to him in both games, although it’s thought he had a slight injury for the Altach clash. Even still, Pellegrini opted to go for Johnson ahead of him against City despite him being available once again. That, then, would indicate that the former Ipswich Town man’s hopes of featuring regularly next season may be getting smaller by the day.