If you told me a year ago that Bradley Johnson would have been offered a new contract at our club, I would have laughed in your face. The former Leeds United midfielder was a player dragging his heels along the floor with the demise of his club. However, Johnson’s performances over the last 12 months have silenced critics, including myself.
Admittedly, I wasn’t Johnson’s biggest fan, but even I must give the 27-year-old credit for how he has upped his game.
Johnson expressed his delight at penning a new deal at Carrow Road in February, “I’ve got some good memories of playing here, and I want to make some more now by hopefully getting promoted this year.” Last season, I felt Johnson didn’t have the technical craft to his game, there’s no doubting his passion for the club, but his performances were letting him down. A player who constantly conceded possession and offered little attacking threat or defensive cover, he seemed to be in ‘no-man’s land’.
This season Canary fans have seen a revitalised Johnson who has finally found his feet in the Norwich midfield. With Alex Tettey, Jonny Howson and new recruit, Graham Dorrans offering support in the middle, Johnson has been the anchor; the box to box engine for the Norfolk club. With Alex Neil getting his tactics right and finding the best position for Johnson, the Scot has seeped out an extra 20 per cent in the former Arsenal youth prodigy.
Another component he has added to his game, is goals. Johnson has bagged an astonishing 13 goals for City this season, a healthy sum for a midfield player. His previous highest tally was back at Elland Road where Johnson amassed 7 goals in a single campaign.
A quick reminisce to last season, Norwich fans will remember the struggle for goals with goal barren droughts lasting weeks on end. This campaign, Alex Neil has instilled confidence, belief and a positive attacking outlet to City’s offence. Johnson has been at the heart of City’s attacks, none more so then so of his glorious efforts against the likes of Watford, Reading, Blackburn and of course, Ipswich Town.
Johnson is brimming with confidence and has revealed that his philosophy of “hard work” is also being adopted by manager, Alex Neil. If Johnson can keep up his performances, he will undoubtedly be considered for a player of the season award, an accolade that Johnson would thoroughly deserve in light of his recent displays.
Is this the new-look Bradley Johnson?