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Inkersole: Johnson ready to make first team step up

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West Ham United’s young defender Ben Johnson is a ‘potential incumbent’ in both full back positions moving forward, according to journalist Sam Inkersole.

The 19-year-old has long been identified as someone capable of making the step up to the Hammers first team at some point, and he made his Premier League debut against Manchester City in February.

Inkersole expects him to take the place of a couple of West Ham stars moving forwards: “Ben Johnson is soon to fully break through from the academy you would expect so a potential incumbent on either flank is there already, to take the left back place or to push Ryan Fredericks at right back,” he wrote on the Football London website.

“Fredericks looks to be over the injury issues that blighted his debut campaign but the left back issue is an intriguing one. The Hammers were linked with a couple in the summer but decided to stick with what they’ve got…for now.”


Johnson has been a regular starter for the Irons’ Under-23s side once again this season, as he was throughout most of the last campaign. However, he regularly trained with the first team last term, and did rather well in a hugely daunting debut clash with the champions City. His versatility is going to be massive for West Ham in the years to come, meaning that manager Manuel Pellegrini could potentially release right back Pablo Zabaleta and cash in on one of his left backs next summer without really needing to sign a replacement for either of them. That’s a lot of pressure to put on a young man like Johnson, but after how he performed against City and his displays in pre season last summer, you suspect he’d thrive on that. Playing out the rest of the season with the Under-23s will be important for his development, and so he could well be ready to step into the full back breach heading into the 2020/21 campaign.

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