Norwich City’s Bradley Johnson relishing attacking freedom under Alex Neil
- Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd
The shackles have been thrown off Bradley Johnson and the midfielder is ready to fire Norwich City back to the Premier League.
That's the verdict of Canaries' boss Alex Neil, who has challenged the 27-year-old to maintain his momentum when he returns from a two-match suspension after picking up his 10th yellow card of the season in the win over Sheffield Wednesday.
Johnson's brace on Easter Monday took his tally to 13 goals for the season and six in his last 11 outings.
'He has a freedom in his play and that applies to all the attacking lads,' said Neil.
'When we have the ball they are given the licence to drift in off the line, get in the box and try to get goals.
'As soon as we lose it they have to get back in their shape and hunt it down; so it simplifies things for them and good players relish that freedom.
'If you keep them too rigid they are pigeon-holed and they don't express themselves. Playing on the left and hitting the box you see Bradley has flourished and he is as much a goal threat as anybody.
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'His header for the first goal was fantastic. It was one when he initially went up I didn't think he could score because of the lack of pace on the ball.
'He had to generate the power and the direction and for the second if it falls on his left foot in the box he is a real danger.'
Johnson has responded to Neil's backing to spearhead the Canaries' Championship charge.
'When a new manager comes in then as a player you have a clean slate,' he said.
'You see it at every club but he has made it clear everyone has a job to do and we know what is required.
'He has us pressing high up the pitch and with an intensity that many teams can't cope with and the work-rate has paid off for us. The main aim is to produce that every game and if we do then you expect our talent to come through.'