West Ham United look to have another homegrown first team star on their hands in defender Ben Johnson.

West Ham received a blow last month when young right-back Jeremy Ngakia left the club.

That was despite establishing himself as David Moyes’s first choice right back.

Ryan Fredericks has failed to prove himself since signing from Fulham in 2018. And Pablo Zabaleta has left the club too.

So when Fredericks picked up an injury before the Watford game, Johnson – after a string of his own injury issues – finally got another chance.

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Finally a solution to West Ham’s problem position?

Having previously featured twice against Manchester City, Johnson came in for one of West Ham’s biggest games for years against the Hornets.

And he put in an excellent performance as the Hammers won 3-1.

In another fine display against Manchester United, Johnson kept Marcus Rashford quiet all evening.

Someone who knows a thing or two about being a right-back, Sky Sports pundit Gary Neville, was impressed.

And he praised the new West Ham star during the game.

Manchester United v West Ham United - Premier League

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Neville lauds new West Ham star Johnson

“I had a good look at him (Johnson) on Friday night, really impressed,” Neville said on Sky Sports’s live coverage.

“I’m always interested when a right-back comes into the game, (especially) a young player.

“His body shape was good on crosses from the opposite side, he did the right things when he was one-on-one, he understands the position.

“(He) looks an excellent defender.”


Neville is the nephew of former England and Man United right-back Paul Parker and the cousin of Tottenham legend Ledley King.

West Ham fans were impressed with Johnson too.

But many still see room for improvement from the 20-year-old.

Hammers fans took to social media, WhatsApp groups and fan forums to praise their new right-back star.

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Some West Ham fans highlight room for improvement

Some want to see Johnson improve with his passing when on the ball, though, after a string of stray passes and aimless punts down the wing.

Nerves may have played a part. And it should not detract from what was an excellent defensive display.

But to be the complete package as a fullback in the modern game you have to be able to join the attack and make an impact.

That will come for Johnson, particularly against lesser teams than Man United.

Moyes will be relieved he has found a player who fits his vision for the future of West Ham in Johnson.

Young, hungry, homegrown and talented, Johnson looks another superb product off the famous West Ham academy conveyor belt.

Money is said to be tight at West Ham for transfer this summer.

And Johnson could also end up saving Moyes vital funds in the next window.

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