Frank McAvennie has raved about Ben Johnson after the West Ham defender was given a run of games by David Moyes at the end of the season.
The Hammers legend, speaking exclusively to Football Insider correspondent Dylan Childs, said that the defensive responsibility the 20-year-old takes brings the best out of teammate Pablo Fornals.
Johnson made his Premier League debut in February in a 1-0 loss away at Manchester City but two serious hamstring injuries coupled with the form of Jeremy Ngakia preventing him from establishing himself in the first team.
However, a return to full fitness and Ngakia’s refusal to sign a new deal enabled the versatile defender to play the final three games of the season.
McAvennie hailed the youngster for defending first and foremost, something he believes Aaron Cresswell can improve upon.
“The boy Johnson, who played the last few games of the season, what a joy to watch,” he told Football Insider.
“He played at left-back and allowed Fornals to be up the other end of the park. Johnson did his job. He is a full-back, first and foremost and was telling Fornals to get up the park. That is where he can hurt the opposition. You do not want flare players in your own box.
“Johnson may give a wee kick up the backside to Cresswell because he is playing way too far forward for me. It is taking the shine off Fornals.
“I was very impressed with Johnson. Look at Robertson and Tierney, they go forward but they are defenders first. They will never get caught out at the back. Sometimes Cresswell strolls back and you cannot do that.”
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