Robert Page hails ‘the future of Welsh football’

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Brennan Johnson celebrates his goal for Nottingham Forest. Photo Zac Goodwin PA Pictures

Wales manager Robert Page says Brennan Johnson could now play for a Premier League top-six team and the clubs who wanted him in January missed out.

Nottingham Forest forward Johnson heads into Sunday’s Sky Bet Championship play-off final against Huddersfield after a landmark season for club and country.

Johnson has scored 19 goals this season and was named the Championship’s Young Player of the Season at last month’s EFL Awards.

The 21-year-old was the subject of a reported £18m bid from Brentford in January but opted to remain at his hometown club, which his father David played for between 2001 and 2006.

Page said: “Brennan is the future of Welsh football and I think he’s in the top six (Premier League) now.

“He showed that he has that potential and that ability.

“I’ve seen it in him for a long time and it’s been great to see his development.

“I think the teams that showed interest in him in January have now lost.”

Johnson has scored 14 of his 19 goals since the new year, while Forest’s rise under Steve Cooper has gathered momentum.

He struck in both legs of the semi-final play-off win against Sheffield United and Page gave particular praise to his father’s agent for his progress.

management

He said: “We all know his father and it was great management from him too.

“There was a lot of talk about him in January and it didn’t upset him at all.

“He didn’t collapse under that pressure. He enjoyed it and went to another level again.

“He could have been chasing the money and quadrupling his wages, if not more.

“But that’s not what he’s about and it’s so refreshing to see young lads wanting to play and win trophies.

“The rest will take care of itself, the money, nice houses and nice cars will come.

“He was confident in his abilities, wanted to stay at the club that showed him love and suits his style of play.

“His development has picked up speed and he will get his train – and we will benefit from that too.”

League of Nations

Wales start their Nations League against Poland in Wroclaw on June 1, four days before playing either Scotland or Ukraine in Cardiff.

Skipper Gareth Bale, Aaron Ramsey and Joe Allen are among those set to be detached for the Poland clash.

Page said: “I’m going to use these Nations League games as a tool to give the Brennan Johnsons a chance in the world and expose them to top players and top teams.

“The Nations League is not the be-all and end-all. It’s about exposing the younger players to such resistance.

“So in 12 months or two years, if we’re in an important game for the World Cup or the Euros, these players will have benefited from that experience and maybe be the ones to score the winning goal to take us further. ”


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