Daniel Johnson – Aston Villa’s loan midfielder impressing at Oldham

Daniel Johnson

Danny @ Oldham is the boy for Villa – An open letter to Paul Lambert.

Dear Paul,

I know things have improved on the points front at Villa of late but I just had to drop you a line, and perhaps assist in some small way your efforts to continue the team’s resurgence, particularly in light of Sunday’s injuries.

Twice recently I have been to games at Oldham Athletic and had the good fortune to witness some excellent football from one of your players currently on loan there, Daniel Johnson. It would seem to any observer that the young man does not figure in your immediate plans, hence him being loaned out. Obviously your scouting system will be keeping tabs on Daniel while he gets some much needed match time and experience playing with and against seasoned pros in League One rather than in the nicey, nicey surrounds of the Under 21 League.

Only five minutes into his début against Crawley, Daniel gave notice of what the Latics fans could expect from him and what he could bring to Villa when you recall him or his loan spell ends. He scored a goal that immediately marked him out as one to watch. Picking the ball up about twenty yards short of the Crawley penalty area Daniel set off on the kind of mazy run that terrifies defenders and excites fans. Using both feet, at speed, he went past three defenders so effortlessly that they might as well have still been on the team coach. Then from a narrow angle he fired across the keeper into the far side of the net.

Daniel Johnson playing for Aston VillaYes, of course, it was League One opposition but it was the polished way Daniel set his mind on a dribble that would get him into a scoring position, that made everyone at the ground sit up and take notice. Not to mention that he saw as such well ahead of team mates and opponents alike.

For the rest of that game, and last Saturday’s FA Cup exit to Doncaster, what struck me, as much as the longest dreadlocks since Bob Marley, (not to mention three goals in three games), was the fact Daniel Johnson is not a “one-trick pony”.

He contributed to Oldham’s efforts in all aspects of the game and in all areas. Despite weighing just 67 kilos soaking wet he put in some hefty tackles, rode a few, and was the ever available link between Latics’ defence and attack.

He carried the game to the opposition, from his own penalty area, as well as being support for the front players. He was able to switch the focus of attack from flank to flank and from box to box. His passing was as one might expect from a player who belongs to a Premier League club and on top of all that is the added bonus of a real goal threat.

With the lack of Villa goals recently and the injuries sustained by Tom Cleverley and Ashley Westwood maybe Daniel Johnson could be the able assistant to Christian Benteke that might just see him recapture the confidence and goals that were such a delight last season.

And I haven’t even mentioned similarity to that Brazilian fellow, Ronaldinho.

Yours sincerely

Brian

Brian’s fact: Oldham Athletic`s ground is the second highest in the nation, only the Hawthorns is higher, 552 feet above sea level as opposed to the almost tropical 526 endured by home fans at what used to be Boundary Park but is now Sports Direct.Com Park

By
Longest serving freelance football reporter for Sky Sports, 1,000+ games. Author of Breedon Book of Premiership Records and Three Lions.
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