With the recent news from Elland Road that Leeds United midfielder Bradley Johnson will be plying his trade at pastures new next season, let’s take a look at what he’s all about...
Leeds United signed him from Northampton three and a half years ago. Most of us had never heard of the bloke and Google searches and message boards were utilised to try and glean any snippet of information. In his first few matches he looked the part – as you’d expect from a former Arsenal youth teamer – young, hungry, passionate. He featured mainly out on the left wing and at the time seemed a good acquisition for the depths the club was in; a player that could grow and progress with the team.
However, initial verdicts on the bright young thing soon began to wane. Johnson’s early promise faded and although naturally athletic and good in the air he had a shot like a badly aimed cannon. Nothing wrong with pulling the trigger when an opportunity arises but all too often rows P through to Z find themselves in the firing line rather than the opposition keeper.
If ever a player needed to heed the advice, ‘knock it simple’ then he’s the one.
When he does find his range though, he can be deadly. Most noticeably in last season’s FA Cup replay against Arsenal when he cracked in a peach of a shot from well outside the area giving the goalkeeper no chance. Goals like that and some of his other contributions in his final season convinced many of his detractors that a fit, hard-working Johnson was no bad thing. Employed in more of a holding role in the centre he produced a string of solid no nonsense displays. He brought ball winning into his game and provided much needed stability in the middle. The thing that lets him down more often than not though is his passing. He struggles to achieve this over 10 yards so why attempt 40? If ever a player needed to heed the advice, ‘knock it simple’ then he’s the one.
Johnson’s rumoured to be talking to a couple of Premiership clubs about a move but in all fairness he’s not about to make much of a massive impression at a higher standard I feel. Solid and dependable when on form, scruffy and a shirker when not. He may prove an asset at say Wolves or Wigan – teams with limited budgets that value players that can be utilised in several positions - but he needs to keep his ambitions realistic.
So, cheers Bradley – we’ve had our money’s worth. Good luck mixing it with the big boys. Your ex Leeds United team-mate Beckford struggled in his first season at Everton but towards the latter end started showing the things he can do. The best tip I can give any supporter of the club Bradley Johnson goes to is don’t sit behind the goal. Or near the goal. In fact try and get a ticket for the sides if you can.
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