March 17 2014 Latest news:
Saturday, April 14, 2012
The old Leeds United connection worked a treat in midfield as Norwich City pulled off the victory described by Bradley Johnson as “the highlight of my season”.
Johnson and his former Elland Road skipper, Jonny Howson, started the same match for the Canaries for only the second time as they beat Tottenham 2-1 at White Hart Lane on Easter Monday.
The central midfield pair looked a good foil for each other as Paul Lambert’s men delivered the outstanding result of the campaign.
And City will be hoping Johnson’s combative approach and Howson’s forward running and eye for a goal – he scored his first for the club against Everton last week – will be just as effective against Manchester City this afternoon at Carrow Road (12.45pm).
“My strengths are getting physical in midfield and upsetting the play, winning the ball back and giving it,” said Johnson, who was recalled at Spurs after spending five successive games on the bench.
“Jonny’s strength is scoring goals. He’s scored one here at the moment but I’m sure there will be plenty more where that comes from.”
Howson scored 11 times for Leeds last season, including a hat-trick at Scunthorpe.
“He’s a great goalscoring midfielder and he can play as well. He can sit back and play and he’s not afraid to get on the ball. He’s a good player,” said Johnson.
“I played with Jonny for three years. I know what he’s like and he knows what I’m like. He’s come into this team now and he’s settled in well.
“For me to be playing alongside him brings back old memories. We did it for three years at Leeds but I can play with anyone in this team because we understand each other.”
Johnson recaptured his early-season form against Spurs and admitted: “It was the highlight of my season to beat a team like Tottenham at their ground. They’re in the top four, looking for a Champions League space. We didn’t just beat them, we deserved our win.
“It’s up there with the best victories I’ve had. To go there and dominate and deserve it – it could have been 3-1 or 4-1, I think – and play the way we did and get the win was fantastic.”
Johnson said there was an acceptance among the squad that no one could expect to play every week, but those who didn’t make the eleven still kept in the best possible shape.
He said: “Yes, every player wants to play. But it’s a team game and I knew I wasn’t going to play every game here. We all know it’s a hard league and very fast and intense and not everyone is going to play every game.
“We all stay after training and do a little bit extra if we’re not playing. Lads like myself, when I wasn’t playing, we were all staying behind and doing an extra bit of running with the fitness coach. Training is just like a game here, so sharp and intense and it keeps you on your toes and keeps you fit.
“All the lads, we just get on well. There are no egos here, no ‘I’m better than you’ here. We all know where we’ve come from. We’ve come from the lower leagues and we’re all happy to be here. So every time we put on that shirt and play in the Premier League, we want to stay here.”
Lambert praised the Howson-Johnson combination for their part in beating Spurs.
“I thought the two of them were brilliant,” he said. “Jonno came in and I thought he was playing like he was at the beginning of the season.
“I think Howson has been great since he came here. When we got him we had to wait a few weeks for him to perform. Since he has been in the side he has been absolutely terrific.”