Manuel Pellegrini may have inadvertently dropped a selection hint ahead of West Ham’s trip to Chelsea on Monday night. The Irons travel to Stamford Bridge to face Maurizio Sarri’s Chelsea in Monday night’s Premier League encounter.

And one day before the game, West Ham’s under-23 team played in a Premier League 2 fixture. The young Hammers won 1-0 against Leicester City but the team selection was telling.

Aside from Jack Wilshere’s inclusion in the starting line-up, the other selection was the omission of Ben Johnson. The youngster usually starts for West Ham’s under-23 team but could he be in line for a first-team call-up against Chelsea instead?

Jeremy Ngakia started at right-back instead, meaning Johnson is either injured or in the West Ham squad to face Chelsea.


Ben Johnson at West Ham

Ben Johnson has signed a new deal at West Ham recently. (Photo by Arfa Griffiths/West Ham United via Getty Images)

Johnson has enjoyed a successful season in the under-23 squad and he was recently rewarded with a first-team call-up. The 19-year-old was a surprise inclusion in West Ham’s starting line-up against Manchester City recently.

Filling in for injured duo Aaron Cresswell and Arthur Masuaku at left-back, Johnson performed well for just over an hour before he was withdrawn with a calf injury.

Since then, the teenager has signed a new long-term contract at West Ham and is tipped for big things. And he might get another first-team chance against Chelsea.

Ryan Fredericks has missed the last two games with an injury while Pablo Zabaleta struggles to play regularly. This could give Johnson the chance to step up again.

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