Glen's New Deal

Glen Johnson has signed a new four year contract at Upton Park - and reckons he will be playing Premiership football with the Hammers next season.

Glen, who put pen to paper on Monday, says: "I don't want to play in the first division next season and I don't think any of the lads do - but we all think we can stay up."

Glen says he has been concentrating more on his football than thinking about contracts recently, and reveals: "I knew my agent was in negotiations but then I forgot all about it. Then he came to me the other day, asked if I was happy, to which I said 'yes', and I signed.

"It wasn't in the front of my mind - I wasn't really thinking about it.

"The main thing is to keep going after those two clean sheets. I think we defended well on Saturday and we could have had a win."

Glenn Roeder is full of admiration for his young protege, and adds: "I can't begin to say how pleased we are with his progress in the most difficult circumstances imaginable.

"He has personality, motivation, ability, and we are so hopeful he can keep up the standard.

"He has the ideal physique for the modern day full-back, he is strong, quick, and composed."

His deal is, to some extent, the exception that proves the rule with everyone's concentration going into what is happening on, rather than off, the field and contract negotiations generally on hold until the summer.

Explaining the move, Glenn says: "We need our young players secured on decent worthwhile contracts and that is why we have moved quickly, because his progress in the first team has been excellent.

"We can now say that his contract was due to run out in just over a year from now, so once he had shown his ability we had to act fast."

It was, perhaps, Glen's move on loan to Millwall earlier this season that helped fast track him into Premiership action, and Glenn adds: "It highlights the importance of getting players out on loan. I know some supporters had their doubts when we sent him to Millwall because the supporters of the two clubs don't have a great relationship, but we did it for the right reasons.

"We wanted him to gain senior experience at the highest level possible and he lives close to their ground in south London.

"Indeed we have to thank Mark McGhee. We were delighted to let Mark have him, and I wouldn't hesitate to loan out other players to him.

"We think there are two more that are going to be at Glen's stage next season - Anton Ferdinand and Elliott Ward.

"We hope we can get those two out on loan to the first division next season and then hopefully looking to play in our first team some time after Christmas.

"The whole club is delighted he has signed, especially as he has come out of the Academy.

"In fact, it is another great advert for the Academy, from whom we had four players on duty at the weekend in Glen, who is 18, Jermain, who is 20, and Joe and Michael, who are 21.

"Apart from Manchester United, we are the club with the most Academy players in the Premiership, and that is one of many reasons why we want to secure Premiership status."