West Ham’s Ben Johnson: From the verge of being released to a Premier League right-back
West Ham United full-back Ben Johnson knows what rejection is and what it takes to thrive in the Premier League.
The young full-back has played three games in the last seven days and he’s barely put a foot wrong.
He is in line for another well-earned start against Manchester City in the Carabao Cup on Wednesday night.
Against Tottenham, he was a constant live wire for the Hammers, winning all the seven aerial duels he attempted, he also made five successful tackles and one key pass, helping his team to a clean sheet.
Against Rapid Vienna in midweek, Johnson was again one of the best performers on the night, recording one key pass, two aerials won, one successful dribble, three tackles, two interceptions and three clearances.
His impact since he’s come into the team has softened the blow of losing both Vladimir Coufal and Ryan Fredericks.
West Ham manager David Moyes described his performance as “fabulous”.
“I actually thought of young Ben Johnson, when you think that we’ve been without a couple of the right-backs recently,” he said.
“I think Ben Johnson has had three games this week, and I thought he was fabulous.”
The right-back himself recently revealed how he went from almost being released at West Ham to fighting for a first team position in the team.
“I was always on the verge of being released from the academy and I have seen so many players come and go,” the in-form full back told BBC MOTDx.
“It’s really tough to bounce back from that but I always knew that I was a good player and I had to keep at it.
“I remember going into a meeting with my mum and we didn’t know if I was going to be released or get an extension but thank God they didn’t release me.
“On our way back I think we were crying as I was scared and let me add that football can be wonderful but there is the other side of it that can be extremely difficult.
“It feels surreal to be Premier League football and I don’t think it’s sunk in yet but it will eventually.
“I don’t think my mum and dad still believe it but obviously the hours they’ve put in are now paying off, sometimes after a game by the time i get home my phone would be off.”
Johnson is in the final year of his West Ham contract, and fans appear to absolutely love him. There is little doubt he will be offered a new deal.
Five facts about Ben Johnson you might not have know
- He was born in Waltham Forest, London, in January 2000.
- He is the nephew to former Tottenham captain Ledley King.
- Johnson joined West Ham at the age of seven and has progressed through to the first team.
- He made his Premier League debut against Manchester City in February 2019 and scored his first goal for the club in December 2020 against Brighton.
- He has made more than 20 appearances for the club since 2019, mostly in the cup games, but has been given a run out with injury to first choice Vladimír Coufal.