West Ham United defender Ben Johnson has revealed he is eager to catch Manuel Pellegrini’s eye during training this season.
The rarely-seen talent impressed during pre-season when playing as either full-back in the Hammers’ tour of China as well as the away game at Fulham.
Despite excelling, Johnson was left out of the matchday squad for the Premier League opener against Manchester City, a game they eventually lost 5-0.
Johnson has admitted to the club’s official website before the trip to Brighton on Saturday that he training with the best players in the world, and that he would love to be involved against the Seagulls.
“There are a lot of players and everyone is fit right now, so I just want to do my best and not be afraid to make mistakes and try my hardest,” he said.
“I’m training and playing with some of the best players in the world, so I just hope I can catch the manager’s eye. I’ll try and do things properly every day and just be professional and be patient for an opportunity.”
After a summer of strengthening for the Hammers, the competition for places has increased significantly this season. Johnson can play in a number of different roles, something which is bound to help him – with the 19-year-old capable of playing both in defence and midfield. The truth is, even if he did excel at fullback in pre-season, there are two senior options ahead of him in either position. Even in midfield, there is strength in depth, with Carlos Sanchez and Jack Wilshere starting the season fit, as well as Mark Noble nearing a return to the fold. Johnson will have to wait his turn to impress, and utilise his chances in the cup competitions should he be given the nod. There are areas of his game that he needs to improve on from what he delivered in pre-season. Johnson was caught out of position numerous amount of times, especially in the game against Hertha Berlin, with the defender needing to know when to get forward and when is best to stay deeper and offer support in possession. With players such as Pablo Zabaleta still at the club, it will be best for the youngster to stay with the Hammers and learn from experienced options such as the Argentine to put him in good stead for seasons ahead.