‘David Moyes faces a difficult conversation with West Ham star Vladimir Coufal like Sir Alex Ferguson had with me’ says England legend Paul Parker.
There has been so many positives about West Ham under Moyes over the last 20 months it is hard to summarise them without missing any out.
But one glance at the Premier League table, the Europa League groups and the fixtures for the Carabao Cup quarter-finals probably tells you everything you need to know about the job Moyes is doing at West Ham.
One of the big positives on the pitch this season, though, has been the emergence of Ben Johnson.
It is a strange situation. Usually when an academy graduate makes the first team they either sink or swim.
If they get in and do well they usually stay in and become first team stars. If not they usually fade away, go out on loan and end up moving on down the football pyramid.
But for Johnson the journey has been different. He has been in and around the West Ham first team for some time now, since the Manuel Pellegrini days in fact.
His debut was a brilliant performance against then untouchable champions Manchester City.
And whenever he has been called upon Johnson has never let West Ham down.
He is still only 21. But it is now he has started to cement a place in the West Ham first team – something that seemed improbable if not impossible given the acquisition and performances of Vladimir Coufal last season.
Injury to the Czech right-back and back-up Ryan Fredericks has allowed Johnson a rare opportunity to play a string of games in his natural position.
And my how he has flourished.
The recent game against Aston Villa saw Johnson score a brilliant goal too in a performance that felt like the birth of a new West Ham star.
Coufal is back fit now, though. He has just captained the Czech Republic in a World Cup qualifying win while Johnson – for some unfathomable reason – could not even make it into Lee Carsley’s England Under 21 squad.
Moyes has lauded Coufal for his professionalism since joining West Ham.
And now, according to former Man United and England star Paul Parker – who is related to Johnson – Moyes faces a difficult conversation with Coufal, like Sir Alex Ferguson had with him when Gary Neville emerged at Old Trafford (EuroSport).
‘David Moyes faces difficult conversation with West Ham star Vladimir Coufal like Sir Alex Ferguson had with me’ says England legend
“Vladimir Coufal is a warrior, he is tenacious,” Parker told EuroSport.
“In football it’s rare to get an opportunity when a manager comes up and says to you ‘you’re good enough. You’re going to play’.
“You almost always get in on a default off the back of someone else’s misfortune.Your good fortune is someone else’s misfortune.
“It happened to me when I started out at Fulham and it happened to me the other way around when I lost my place at Manchester United to Gary Neville.
“I had an ankle injury and Neville came into the team. The boss in no uncertain terms told me ‘He’s young boy, he’s doing really well and if I drop him it could affect his long-term future’. It hurt at the time but what he said was right; especially with young players.”
Coufal will know the score. But make no mistake he will be desperate to force his way back into the side.
At 29, he did not come to West Ham to sit on the bench.
The good thing for Moyes this season is he has plenty of games coming thick and fast to be able to rotate his squad.
And while Johnson is playing so well, the shirt is his to keep.