Cardiff Man Draws Pundit Praise
Cardiff City pinched centre-back Roger Johnson from under the noses of rivals Swansea City before last season and the £300k deal to bring the former Wycombe Wanderers captain to Ninian Park looks to be one of the best in recent years.
Johnson spent a frustrating period of time on the bench last season and despite impressing whilst covering for Purse and Loovens, he remained the back-up choice. However, a sustained run in the side at the end of last season, and the beginning of this has seen him establish himself as a good Championship player. Dominant in the air, with good feet and great awareness - he has put in some monumental performances.
Former Porstmouth, Millwall and Birmingham City striker Steve Claridge reviewed Cardiff City's last game (a 1-0 away defeat to Southampton) and specifically scouted Johnson's performance for The Guardian:
I am struggling to remember a time when he lost a winnable header in either penalty area. He was a persistent threat.
I also liked the way that he thought about where he was putting the ball, instead of simply looking to head it as far away as possible.
Clearly, Claridge was impressed with what he saw and described Johnson's general performance as 'eloquent'. This in a scrappy game, when Cardiff were rarely tested at the back - partly because of good performances by Johnson and Rae, with McNaughton and Capaldi keeping dangermen Dyer and Idiakez relatively quiet.
Claridge did note one or two shortfall's in RJ's game, specifically too great a distance between him and Loovens and also:
Johnson must be careful that he does not get dragged out of central areas too much and make sure that, if he steps up, as he did twice in isolation, his defensive line follows his lead. He did argue once with the referee and then got caught out when Southampton played a quick free-kick but he redeemed himself with a vital block.
All that in mind, Claridge gave Johnson huge praise and the following marks out of ten:
Team responsibility 8/10
Very impressive for a young player (24) in his first season as a first choice centre-half and with little Championship experience behind him. All we wait for now is for the likes of Birmingham City or some other Championship force / Premiership struggler to steal him for a cut price fee!!! Surely not.....
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