Bradley Johnson’s Norwich City exit was best for all parties says Alex Neil

Bradley Johnson found first team opportunities at Norwich City increasingly limited this season. Pic

Bradley Johnson found first team opportunities at Norwich City increasingly limited this season. Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images - Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

Bradley Johnson's Norwich City sale was a pragmatic call from Alex Neil.

The Canaries' reigning player-of-the-year made a shock deadline day exit to Championship side Derby, in a deal which could net Norwich more than £7m.

Johnson was a key factor in the club's promotion to the top flight last season but found first team opportunities increasingly limited this time around with Martin Olsson back after summer surgery and Matt Jarvis arriving on loan from West Ham.

'I just think with Bradley we got to the stage where, even in the early part of the season, he wasn't in the team,' said Neil.

'Jonny Howson was operating on that left-hand side and also the fact I had Martin coming back, which can push Robbie Brady one further forward, and Matt Jarvis to give us that creativity down the left-hand side. I just felt what we were getting offered for Bradley and the contribution I could see him having I thought it made perfect sense.

'I made that decision in the best interests of the club.'

Johnson has inspired the Rams to two Championship away league wins since his departure, at Preston and Reading, and Neil insists the 28-year-old's exit was amicable.

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'I had a chat with Bradley, there was no fallout, I spoke to him and wished him all the best and thanked him for everything he had done. We left on good terms,' said Neil.

'The fact is they came in with a good offer, I had a discussion with Bradley, he was under no pressure at all to leave the club but it was in the best interests of both parties.

'It was great business for the club to sell him at top value and the one thing about Bradley, his attributes lend himself to being a top player in the Championship, and it won't surprise me if he has a good season for them.'

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