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West Ham United’s Academy has always been highly-regarded for producing some of the finest players across the years. The likes of Bobby Moore, Rio Ferdinand, Sir Trevor Brooking and Frank Lampard are all proud graduates from the Hammers’ academy and have all gone on to make a mark for themselves in their careers.
Now, the latest bright prospect appears to be 17-year-old Benjamin Johnson. Better known as Ben, the player has been making waves with his performances for the club’s U23 side, and is on the verge of becoming a regular. In fact, the player could also be vying for a chance to break into the first-team in the near future.
Let’s take a closer look at the player’s profile.
Born in 2000, Johnson was a part of West Ham’s youth academy before breaking through to their U18 side. Since then, the youngster has rapidly progressed through the ranks, and is becoming a force to be reckoned with at the club. He played as a regular member of the U18s throughout the season, showing his versatility by playing right-back, right-midfield and centre-midfield.
Subsequently, he was moved to the U23 squad where he made his debut for the side in their 2-2 draw with Leicester City in February. Johnson has not looked back since, and is continuing with his stellar performances. In fact, the 17-year-old also featured in the Checkatrade Trophy earlier this week against Bristol Rovers where he played as a left-back and yet, he did not fail to impress.
Johnson is a midfielder but featured this week at left-back, which showcases his versatility. He has also featured at right-back this season. The player is quite solid yet extremely light on his feet. His interceptions and tackles are top-class while he is also very creative when it comes to contributing to attacking plays up front.
Despite being so young, Johnson boasts of a mature vision and he is adept at making well-timed passes and crosses to maintain a sense of fluidity in the game. When it comes to aerial challenges, the player is quite decent but there is scope for improvement on that front.
The young Englishman undoubtedly has a long and illustrious career ahead of him. He has made six appearances for the under-23s this season, and has one assist to his name. With that being said, his main focus should be on establishing himself as a regular at this level, and trying to nail down a spot in one particular position.
He is already doing quite well for himself since he is close to establishing himself as a mainstay for the U23 side despite being so young. However, the player’s priority should be on improving himself and working on his form hard enough to get noticed by the first-team. Breaking into the West Ham squad will be tough but for a player with as much potential as Johnson, it is certainly possible in the near future.