Speaking in his pre-match press conference ahead of West Ham’s trip to Newcastle United, manager Manuel Pellegrini shared his concerns about the right-back situation.

With Ryan Fredericks and Sam Byram out injured, Pablo Zabaleta is the only right-back available at West Ham.

Pellegrini has admitted that Zabaleta cannot play every single game in the coming month.

But with seven crucial matches coming up in a crammed December period, how can the Hammers help the 33-year-old out?

Pellegrini said, as reported by Football.London: “Unfortunately we have just one right full-back that is Pablo Zabaleta.

“For Pablo, for his age it is impossible for him to play seven games in December so we need to see what we are going to do in that position.”

Here are four temporary solutions for Pellegrini to explore before the January window opens.

Michail Antonio

Slaven Bilic failed to turn Michail Antonio into a right-back. (photo by John Patrick Fletcher/Action Plus via Getty Images)

Antonio has played at right-back before with Slaven Bilic using him in that position.

Given his strength and pace, there are no physical reasons why the 28-year-old should not be able to fill in at right-back.

But it ended in disaster last time with Antonio’s lack of concentration and willingness to track back making him the weak link in the Hammers defence.

This option is not desirable at all and should be avoided unless there are no alternatives.


Ben Johnson

Ben Johnson is the academy’s first-choice right-back. (Photo by James Griffiths/West Ham United via Getty Images)

With West Ham struggling in the right-back department, the natural thing to do is look at the under-23 option in that position.

Johnson is the Development Squad’s first-choice right-back and has featured regularly there this season.

But is the 18-year-old ready to step up to Premier League action just yet?

Declan Rice

Declan Rice could play at right-back but he plays an important role in central midfield. (Photo: GLYN KIRK/AFP/Getty Images)

One player that would definitely be able to slot in at right-back with ease is 19-year-old sensation Rice.

The Republic of Ireland international has played at centre-back and in a holding midfield role for West Ham.

But with his reading of the game and defensive solidity, Rice has all the attributes to thrive at full-back too.

However, Pellegrini will be reluctant to take the teenager out of the West Ham midfield as he plays a crucial role in front of the defence.

Reece Oxford

Reece Oxford played at right-back on loan at Borussia Monchengladbach last season. (Photo by TF-Images/Getty Images)

Pellegrini is yet to name Oxford in a match day squad this season, prompting talk of his potential January exit.

But the 19-year-old may be handed a lifeline if he gets the nod to cover for Zabaleta at right-back.

The England youth international played at right-back while on loan at Borussia Monchengladbach last season.

And he will be desperate to prove that he is good enough to succeed in West Ham’s first-team after failing to live up to early expectations.