Michail Antonio’s advice to Ben Johnson was key to the young West Ham defender’s first goal of the season against Aston Villa last month.
Johnson opened his account for the campaign seven minutes into his sixth start doubling his tally in a West Ham shirt. His first goal for the Hammers came last season at the London Stadium when West Ham drew 2-2 with Brighton and Hove Albion.
The academy graduate has given David Moyes a headache when it comes to team selection after excelling in Vladimir Coufal’s absence. With the Czech right-back now back to full fitness the manager faces a tough choice for the clash with Wolverhampton Wanderers on Saturday afternoon at Molineux.
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Johnson kept his place in the Premier League XI following his fine showing against Villa and once again put in a solid performance against Liverpool. Despite starring against the likes of Sadio Mane and Mo Salah in the Liverpool match Johnson was still keen to relive his goal at Villa Park three weeks on with the defender crediting Antonio with encouraging him to be more adventurous in attack.
“Antonio was telling me to use my left foot more,” Johnson told the Premier League show The Headline Makers. “I have played at left-back last season and a bit this season as well and it just came to me and I thought I will cut in and then the space came and someone’s legs opened up and I went for the shot and just tried to stay as composed as possible.”
Johnson is being modest about a superb strike from distance. The youngster brought a bouncing ball down under control before quickly nipping inside Matt Targett and firing in the shot that was so perfectly placed in the bottom far corner it was almost beyond Emi Martinez before he dived.
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The defender certainly enjoyed the moment and he was mobbed by every one of his outfield teammates who all joined him in a pre-planned celebration recreating a video of a young Johnson dancing as a schoolboy.
“It was a great feeling to score and to celebrate as well with my teammates,” Johnson added. “Cressie [Aaron Cresswell] said to me if you score you have to do it and when I scored I did not actually want to do it but I saw Cress running over so I had to do it and it was just a great moment and a great feeling to see everyone joining in.”