How good is it to hear that an almost forgotten home grown footballer is finally on the way back from injuries that threatened to end a career that many of us City fans were looking forward to with relish. The physios advise us that Michael is about to step up his training but now must look to next season before we see him in action again.
With all the euphoria going on at present surrounding the fight for fourth place one of the shortcomings of the current team has been our inability to play the straighter ball from central midfield into the channels into which Adebayor and Santa Cruz go hunting.
Last season both Elano and Ireland provided passes into these areas as indeed did Johnno before his injury, to feed the early deadly diagonal runs from Robinho that invariably ended up in the net. Imagine if those passes had been available this season to feed similar runs from Bellamy & Tevez not to mention Adebayor. Michael Johnson is the provider of those passes and is probably the best on the current playing roster at that kind of goal creation. We saw against Burnley and on odd occasions earlier on in the season the danger that the straighter ball into the channels can create- usually either a goal or an opportunity for a penalty.
In the absence of this wonderful product of our equally wonderful youth system, Barry & De Jong have often been forced to play wide and although the newer Johnson (Adam) has started to show what an excellent talent he is, stretching teams often to the limit, City had become predictable and organised teams could load the midfield with five, could afford to double bank our wide players safely in the knowledge that if the ball was moved back to the centre, nobody had the key to play the channels. Indeed the ball might even end up back with Given.
I have been telling people around City for most of the season that if we have been missing one type of player it is Michael Johnson. Dubbed the new Colin Bell this is a footballer who if he recovers his fitness could be City’s Alonso and could save the Club a multi-million pound transfer fee. I for one would welcome that on all counts, as I am sure would the diehards in Blocks 111 & 116, plus of course, eventually, England.