West Ham starlet Ben Johnson should feature against Oxford United in the Carabao Cup, according to The Athletic journalist Roshane Thomas.
The 19-year-old is yet to feature for Manuel Pellegrini’s side after making his senior debut against Manchester City last season, but Thomas expects him to get the nod when the Hammers face their League One opponents on September 25th.
Writing in a Q&A for The Athletic, he said: “He [Johnson] should feature in the cup game against Oxford United.
“He was named on the bench against Newport County a few weeks ago. He’s currently fit but with Fredericks and Zabaleta ahead of him in the pecking order it will be tough.
“Johnson is versatile so he can also play centre-back and left-back. Hopefully Pellegrini will give him a chance.”
You would hope that Pellegrini begins to give Johnson more game time as the season progresses. All the signs are that there is a real player in there somewhere, and if the teenager can be slowly weened into the first team over the course of the current campaign, there is no reason why he can’t be a fantastic option for the Hammers for years to come. He may have only made the one Premier League appearance last term, but it was against Manchester City, and there was definitely a lot to be impressed by. During his 63 minutes on the pitch, the youngster registered three clearances, one interception, one tackle, was dribbled past just once, as well as managing to catch the champions offside twice too, as per Whoscored. That is no mean feat given that it was his first game and the level of opposition was seriously high, and it is surely enough to justify more opportunities this term.