West Ham under 21s hammered Celtic 5-0 in the Premier League international cup last night, and a first-team player made a surprise start for Steve Potts’ side.

Potts took over from Mark Robson after he was promoted to the West Ham first-team coaching staff setup by David Moyes.

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And the pocket-sized former Hammers defender has made a fine start to life in charge of the under-21s.

West Ham United U21 v Sunderland U21: Premier League 2
Photo by West Ham United FC/Getty Images

The thumping 5-0 win didn’t surprise anyone last night.

However, when the team-sheet was released, one of the names in the starting XI certainly did raise some eyebrows…

Senior player makes surprise start for West Ham under-21s during thumping 5-0 win over Celtic last night

Ben Johnson started for the under-21s last night as a right-sided centre-back.

The 23-year-old has regressed badly over the past year or so, and was heavily linked with a move to Southampton in the summer transfer window.

However, the Saints allegedly pulled out of a deal for Johnson in the end, due to the Hammers’ excessive loan fee demands.

Senior player makes surprise start for West Ham under-21s during thumping 5-0 win over Celtic last night
Photo by Mark Kerrison/In Pictures via Getty Images

The fact that the 23-year-old played for the under-21s last night proves that he will struggle for first-team football this season, and an exit from the London Stadium in the summer would have been beneficial for him.

It was a great night for the West Ham under-21s – beating a top quality Celtic side so convincingly was a huge statement.

That results puts us top of our group after wins over Celtic and Valencia. Everyone involved with the youth setup at the club will be absolutely buzzing.

However, Johnson must be disillusioned with what’s going on right now, having been demoted down to the under-21s. I reckon he’ll leave West Ham in January or next summer at the very latest.


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