Manuel Pellegrini has suggested that young defender Ben Johnson has a “big future” at West Ham.
The 19-year-old has travelled with the Hammers’ squad for their preseason trip to China, and his manager has claimed that he could be a star in the long term, after making his Premier League debut against Manchester City in February.
As quoted by Football.London, the Chilean said: “The way he [Johnson] worked last season and the very special game against Manchester City, when he played on the left side of the defence, he is a player who has a big future.
“All these days that he is involved with the senior players it is very useful to him.”
This is really promising for Johnson. The fact that Pellegrini backs him publicly like this shows that he has proper faith in his abilities, and after seeing fit to throw him in at the deep end against Manchester City last season, it is clear that he believes the full-back has what it takes to go all the way in the game. That performance was remarkably assured, bearing in mind how good the opposition were, and how inexperienced Johnson himself was. Three clearances, a pass completion rate of 78.6%, and two offsides won for his team [Whoscored] show a player with a good natural reading of the game, as well as as a decent eye going forward too. He still has an awful lot to learn, of course, but he is in a very promising position, and if he just keeps on doing what he is doing, he could be in that first team on a regular basis very soon.