Norwich City’s Bradley Johnson makes his presence felt
- Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd
Bradley Johnson's contribution to Norwich City in his second successive Premier League campaign may have been taken for granted in some quarters – but not by the management team that has made him a permanent fixture on the teamsheet.
The 25-year-old midfielder has started every league game this season for the Canaries, except the New Year's Day defeat at West Ham, which he missed because of a one-match suspension.
Johnson and former Leeds team-mate Robert Snodgrass jointly top City's league appearances list for the current campaign, each playing 33 out of a possible 34 games.
And manager Chris Hughton has no doubts about Johnson's value to the squad since he took over last summer.
'He has been excellent. I think in the manner that he plays he gives us that balance on the left side of midfield but he is developing into a good all-round player,' said Hughton
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'There is no doubt he has a physical presence to his game and he is very robust but he has a good all-round game.'
There is no lack of competition in central midfield, but while Alex Tettey and Jonny Howson have had a similar share of the action – and David Fox and new recruit Jacob Butterfield have been peripheral figures – Johnson has prevailed, though his combative approach is reflected in eight yellow cards.
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'It is difficult for a player to play right through,' said Hughton. 'Not just because of form, but injury, and he has steered clear of that. He works hard, and he doesn't miss many days on the training pitch. It is an achievement by Brad to have played as many games as he has played.'
Johnson's one goal this season was the winner against Stoke at Carrow Road in November, with the return fixture at the Britannia Stadium today (3pm), where both sides will be looking to secure their Premier League futures.
Howson and Tettey are once again likely to be competing for the central midfield role alongside Johnson.
Said Hughton: 'You look at Alex, who came in and had a really good spell. He has missed a few games of late but the form of Bradley and Alex was to the detriment of Jonny Howson, who is used to playing.
'But I have to say Jonny has come back strong after a frustrating period when he didn't play the games he would like. I think at this stage of the season he has come back very strong.'